Lufkin PD: Former Toys for Tots volunteer arrested for stealing donations

Lufkin PD: Former Toys for Tots volunteer arrested for stealing donations
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A 59-year-old man is in jail, accused of stealing a scooter, a remote-controlled helicopter, and a remote-controlled car from Toys for Tots in December of 2015.

Mitcheal Rease Nash, of Lufkin, is still being held in the Angelina County jail on a Class B misdemeanor theft between $100 and $750 charge. No bail amount has been set yet on the charge.

According to the arrest affidavit, Nash stole the toys from the former Texas National Guard Armory located at 111 Tulane on Dec. 7, 2015.

The affidavit stated that a Lufkin Police Department corporal relayed information to the ACSO deputy who obtained the warrant. The LPD corporal said on Dec. 15, 2015, he was approached by a woman who asked him about Toys for Tots and added she had heard some bad things about the organization.

The woman allegedly told the Lufkin PD corporal that she heard a man was selling toys he had gotten from Toys for Tots at Petty's Motel. She also claimed that she had heard one of the employees for Toys for Tots was involved.

At that point, the LPD corporal contacted Brian Crews with Toys for Tots and told him that he had information about an employee of the organization possibly selling toys that had been donated to Toys for Tots. Crews told him that they had suspected Nash, who volunteered for Toys for Tots, of stealing toys for some time, but they had no evidence or proof of it, according to the affidavit.

Crews also told the LPD officer that there had been several times when he had shown up at the Armory at late or early hours and found Nash there or saw him leaving, the affidavit stated.

The LPD corporal then went to the Petty's Motel and asked the management about the man the woman had told him about, and they told the corporal which room the man might be in, the affidavit stated. The man told the officer that his girlfriend wasn't home and added that she had told him she had received some toys from Toys for Toys from Nash.

The man told the LPD corporal that he had sold the toys to pay for another night at the motel, the affidavit stated.

Later, the girlfriend walked up, and the LPD corporal spoke to her as well. She allegedly admitted to getting toys from Nash, but she denied selling them. According to the affidavit, she claimed that she gave the toys to her son, who does not live with her. The affidavit stated that the officer thought she was being evasive.

Then Crews called Nash to the Armory to speak to the LPD corporal. Nash admitted to knowing the woman and that he had given her several rides. He also allegedly admitted that the woman had been to the Armory, but denied taking any toys.

An ACSO investigator was assigned to do follow-up investigation in the case on Jan. 12. He reviewed the LPD corporal's dash cam footage of his meeting with the man and his girlfriend at Petty's Motel. The video footage backed up what the officer said.

When the ACSO investigator spoke to Crews on Jan. 19, Crews told him that he is one of the organizers for Toys for Tots, and he had noticed that "the donations were not growing as they had in the past." He told the investigator that he had been worried that they wouldn't have enough toys for all the applications they had approved.

Crews also noticed that their inventory started shrinking. When he personally started inventorying the donated toys, he quickly found that several toys were missing. According to the affidavit, he started putting together a time frame of when toys were being brought in and who was bringing them in, and they found that the common denominator was Nash, who had no "authority or right" to take anything from Toys for Tots.

In addition, Crews said he had no evidence or information that Nash was taking toys. He added that there were several dozen toys missing from the Armory, but he could only confirm the scooter, the remote-controlled helicopter, and the remote-controlled car, which had a combined value of $150.

When the ACSO investigator spoke to the woman that the LPD corporal interviewed at Petty's Motel. She met Nash one day when she was walking with her friends, and he gave them a ride to the motel. The woman also claimed that Nash returned to the motel the next day and gave her the three toys, the affidavit stated.

The woman claimed that she had given one of the toys to her friend and that her boyfriend had sold the other two toys, the affidavit stated.

According to the affidavit, the woman said that she had ridden around with Nash as he picked up toys from various businesses and had gone to the Armory with him.

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