Weber County sheriff's deputies are looking for a grinch who stole $10,000 worth of certificates for holiday turkeys that were supposed to be given to employees of the Maverik convenience store chain.
The certificates were in a car that was stolen from Maverik executive regional director Bob Child's West Weber home on Wednesday morning. The turkey vouchers were in his gray 2008 Nissan Maxima when he ran into his home to grab a folder — leaving his car running.
"As I come back out, my car was backing out of the driveway," Child told the Deseret News on Friday.
The car theft is being investigated by the Weber County Sheriff's Office, which reported several thefts and burglaries in the upscale neighborhood that might be connected.
"We do have several leads that we're following up on," said Weber County Sheriff's Capt. Kevin McLeod. "We have not yet recovered the vehicle."
Child said the thief stole another car in Ogden and abandoned that vehicle in his neighborhood. Opportunity presented itself when Child
left his car running in the driveway. Police said owners who leave their cars running are the most common victims of opportunistic car thieves.
"It's funny how traumatizing something like that is," Child said. "The first thing I thought about was the coupons that I was going to pass out that day."
Maverik gives out the certificates as a holiday gift to employees. The certificates can be redeemed for a Norbest frozen turkey. With the blessing of company officials, many employees re-gift the certificates to charities.
The certificates can't be voided, but Maverik reported the incident to Norbest, which has records of the certificates and their serial numbers. Stores who get the certificates are being asked to call Norbest if they suspect they have a pilfered certificate.
Maverik itself is spending another $10,000 to buy new certificates for Utah employees of the 190-store chain spread across the western United States. Those vouchers will be handed out on Monday.
"Our employees benefit from these certificates in more ways than one," Maverik Vice President Brad Call said in a company statement Friday. "Consistently over 90 percent of Maverik employees choose to donate their coupons. This year is especially challenging due to the strained economy, and we want to make sure that these coupons get to needy families."
Child hopes the thief doesn't throw the turkey coupons away — but does something good with them.
"If you have the coupons, don't use two or three and throw the rest of them away," he said, putting out a plea to the thief.
"Take them to the food bank or the Salvation Army for someone who can use them, don't waste them. There was approximately 700 of them, there's turkey dinners that somebody out there could use. Get them into the hands of some needy people."