Police have arrested and charged a 31-year-old man in connection with a rash of poppy box thefts.

The thefts occurred at three west-end businesses between Tuesday and Thursday morning.

According to police, a man would enter the businesses, wait until staff became distracted and then run away with a poppy box in hand.

In two of the incidents the man removed the money from the poppy box and left it nearby.

The suspect was arrested at around 10 a.m. Thursday after officers investigating a poppy box theft at a restaurant near Eglinton Avenue and Bathurst Street recognized him from surveillance camera footage.

A subsequent search found the suspect in possession of $282 believed to have been stolen from poppy boxes.

A backpack containing poppies was also taken from the suspect’s home, police say.

“The video was very key in this,” Const. Tim Jacob told reporters Thursday afternoon. “The accused was discovered wearing the same clothes and was subsequently arrested.”

Christopher Ethier, of Toronto, is charged with three counts of theft under $5,000, three counts of possession of property obtained by crime and three counts of failure to comply with probation.

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