Polk County Sheriff's Northwest General Crimes Unit (GCU) detectives, who have been working around the clock following up leads from the public about the "Grinch" who stole a Toys for Tots box full of toys from a Polk City Hungry Howie's, have positively identified and charged the suspect, who was already in the Polk County Jail.
On December 22, 2011, 27-year-old, Amanda Akins, DOB 1/18/1984, of 506 Avenue G SE in Winter Haven, was arrested by PCSO on a Hillsborough County Warrant for Petit Theft.
On December 23, 2011, Northwest GCU detectives received a tip from a Polk City citizen that the woman who appears in the video released by PCSO to the media may be Akins. Detectives responded to the Polk County Jail to interview Akins, and she confessed to taking the box of toys. She told detectives she left the toys with a friend. Detectives responded to the friend's home and recovered some, but not all, of the toys. Their investigation is ongoing in reference to locating the rest of the toys.
Attached is Akins' mugshot. She has been additionally charged with Grand Theft by PCSO. She will have a first appearance hearing on Sunday, December 25, 2011.
"We are so grateful to the community for helping us identify this 'Grinch' responsible for stealing children's toys -- and just in time for Christmas! And we here at PCSO also got our Christmas wish -- that the suspect responsible for doing this will be eating processed turkey on Christmas day, in the Polk County Jail." - Sheriff Grady Judd
On Friday, December 30, 2011, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives also arrested 27-year-old Victoria Westbrook, DOB 04/27/1984, 3835 Hill Street, Lakeland. Westbrook was the “friend” Atkins took the stolen property to. Westbrook was located at her residence and arrested without incident. She was charged with Grand Theft and was booked into the Polk County Jail.
“Neither of these two thieves are strangers to jail - but stealing toys at Christmas is just outrageous,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “Thanks again to the community for helping to put these two “Grinches” in jail.”