Sierra Vista trio facing charges related to theft from Toys for Tots Foundation

Collection of toy cars filled more than 100 footlockers kept in multiple storage units

Sierra Vista trio facing charges related to theft from Toys for Tots Foundation
Sierra Vista residents (from left) Lloyd Jorgenson, Gustavo Chavez and Melinda Stewart were indicted this summer. (Source: Arizona Attorney General's Office)

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is calling three Sierra Vista residents co-conspirators in an alleged theft of a collection of vintage toy cars donated to the Toys for Tots Foundation.

According to a news release, Gustavo Chavez, Lloyd Jorgenson, and Melinda Stewart were indicted this past summer on several charges. Charges against a fourth person, Paul Joseph Lambert, were dismissed after he died earlier this year.

The donated collection had belonged to James Robert Evans and was donated by his estate in 2016 after his death. The collection was comprised of thousands of cars that Evans began collecting as a child in the 1960s. They were stored with other memorabilia in more than 100 military-style footlockers.

Toys for Tots had to store the footlockers in multiple storage units around Cochise County.

According to the indictment, Jorgenson allegedly took at least 42 of the footlockers from a storage unit in Hereford. He, Stewart, Chavez and Lambert allegedly worked together to transport, conceal, broker and sell the footlockers and their contents.

The charges against each defendant are:

  • Jorgenson: One count each of burglary, theft in excess of $25,000, trafficking in stolen property, illegally conducting an enterprise, and conspiracy.
  • Chavez: One count each of theft in excess of $25,000, illegally conducting an enterprise, and conspiracy.
  • Stewart: Pleaded guilty to theft. Her sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 19.

The FBI recovered 42 footlockers, but additional footlockers may not have been recovered. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the FBI at (623) 466-1999 or tips.fbi.gov.

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