Saanich police are hoping the public can help identify this woman

Saanich police are hoping the public can help identify this woman

Police look to ID woman who ripped off charity

After tallying the money, the woman told fellow volunteers she was going out to her car to retrieve thank-you gifts, but she didn’t return.

Saanich police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect they believe stole hundreds of dollars during a fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

The woman, described as a heavy-set Caucasian between the ages of 35 and 45, registered online to volunteer for a fundraiser at the Tillicum Centre Safeway on Oct. 22, 2011.

She identified herself as Hayden, a name police believe to be fake, and provided the foundation with a fake address.

During the fundraising event, she pretended to be a representative of the foundation.

After tallying the money, the woman told fellow volunteers she was going out to her car to retrieve thank-you gifts, but she didn’t return.

The suspect was wearing a pink Hollister shirt, and her hair was dyed bright pink during the fundraising event.

“Our investigators have been working since October to try to ID this individual,” said Sgt. Dean Jantzen. “Because there was some legitimacy to how it evolved (the suspect applying to volunteer online), it does seem to have slipped through the cracks.”

Tracy Ryan, Vancouver Island regional manager of the cancer foundation’s B.C./Yukon chapter, says the organization is working on a national level to ensure this situation doesn’t happen again.

“It’s a wake-up call, not just to us, to any charity that’s out collecting funds, that there are desperate people out there,” she said. “We just need to make sure we’re not providing them with an opportunity (to victimize us).”

Safeway gave the foundation cash to replace the amount stolen, Ryan said.

Anyone who can identify the suspect is encouraged to call Saanich police at 250-475-4321.

kslavin@saanichnews.com