TORONTO, Ont. – A 31-year-old Toronto man faces nine charges after Royal Canadian Legion poppy donation boxes were swiped from three businesses.

According to Toronto police, a man lifted the boxes at a Beer Store, Tim Hortons and sandwich shop over three days.

Det. Tim Jacob said police were flooded with calls.

“The amount of calls that we received is incredible,” he said. “It just tugs on everbody’s heart.”

Including his own, Jacob added, whose father is a WWII veteran.

Surveillance footage aided in the arrest of man, located with $282 in cash — suspected to be poppy proceeds — and a backpack full of poppies.

Jacob said the thefts are “a slap in the face for our vets and the community at large.”

“Everybody wears a poppy this time of year. We as Canadians take great pride in our vets.”

Jacob said his hope is that “the courts do send a message where this won’t be put up with.”

“We have to take care of this and make sure it doesn’t happen year after year,” he said.

Christopher Ethier, 31, faces a total of nine charges for theft, possession of property obtained by crime and failure to comply with probation.