News / Ottawa

Neighbours charged in 'free toys' Kijiji ad scheme

The people behind a fake Kijiji ad claiming a Bells Corners daycare's toys were up for grabs apparently live two doors down.

Heaven Stewart stands in the driveway of her home daycare where toys and play structures were taken, after an ad listing the items as free for the taking was posted on Kijiji, Tuesday, July 26, 2016 in Ottawa.

Justin Tang for Metro Ottawa

Heaven Stewart stands in the driveway of her home daycare where toys and play structures were taken, after an ad listing the items as free for the taking was posted on Kijiji, Tuesday, July 26, 2016 in Ottawa.

Ottawa police have charged two people in connection with a fake “free toys” ad that targeted a Bells Corners home daycare.

Ottawa police have charged Timothy MacLean and Nancy Blondin with theft under $5,000, conveying false information and mischief after a fake Kijiji ad claimed Heaven Stewart’s home daycare toys were free for the taking.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Stewart says the pair are her neighbours, and live two doors down from her Bells Corners home.

“I was kind of hoping it wasn’t who we thought it was, because we all live here,” Stewart said. “They’re the ones that were pointing fingers at others the whole time, and really it was them.”

Stewart came home to an empty yard July 24. Toy structures, water and sand tables, a picnic table, and a teeter-totter had gone missing and a trampoline had been destroyed.

When Stewart’s teenaged daughter noticed the Kijiji posting, she sent the ad to her mother, who contacted police.

It read: “FREE TOYS closing home daycare...we got them for free so we are passing them on to someone who can use them. First come first served NO EMAILS must be gone by 4 PM then we are donating them. Please leave trampoline. Help yourself...thanks.”

The ad listed Stewart’s address.

After news of the fake ad made headlines, a community toy drive replaced the daycare’s toy stock – and then some.

“We got so much we actually gave back, too,” said Stewart, who said the extra toys went to Goodwill and women’s shelters. “We didn’t need all that.”

MacLean and Blondin could face up to two years in jail for each of the charges.

Police couldn’t confirm when they will appear in court.

With files from Lucy Scholey