When Patricia Kendall went to retrieve the remaining letters to Santa from neighborhood children on Dec. 22 from the “North Pole” mailbox at the Myrtle Street Playground, she was in for an unwelcome holiday surprise.
“All the toys were gone…and it was really upsetting because the kids were used to having them there,” said Kendall, co-president of Friends of the Myrtle Street Playground. “It was really like the Grinch swooped in three days before Christmas.”
Kendall puts the cost of the at-least 50 pilfered toys donated by members of the Friends group, which included bikes, trikes, ride-on cars, kitchen playsets and a mini-roller coaster, at around $2,000. “It must have required an operation to take all the stuff,” she said.
According to Boston Police, an officer responded to the playground at around 12:15 p.m. on Dec. 28, and met with the caller (Kendall), who told them that the toys had gone missing on Dec. 22. Kendall said the Friends then contacted the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and determined that the city hadn’t removed the items. Kendall also said the Friends group was responsible for the upkeep of the playground, and this was the first incident of this nature to occur there.
The theft also comes at a time when the Friends have little money to invest in new toys after undertaking a costly, major renovation of the playground last year.
So now, the Friends group is soliciting donations to buy new toys that can withstand the outdoors via the Beacon Hill Civic Association; to pitch in, call the BHCA at 617-227-1922.