AURORA, Ont. — Police north of Toronto are trying to reunite owners with a large quantity of stolen property — including a Skittle.
A picture of the solitary orange Skittle featuring a faded white "S" is in a series of more than 125 photos of recovered stolen property posted online Tuesday by York Regional Police.
Police say they're posting the pictures to give victims of at least 38 residential break-ins the opportunity to identify their property.
Most of the photos are of jewelry, watches and personal electronic items recovered during the execution of multiple search warrants during the investigation which began in April.
Det. Sgt. Don Cardwell says the Skittle was found with stolen property recovered following the arrests of four people in the series of break-ins across the Greater Toronto Area.
Cardwell says the candy was photographed by an investigator and sent to the police force's media relations department as a joke and investigators never intended for the Skittle picture to be posted online.
"They thought (media relations) would pull it out at corporate communications and it was left in there," Cardwell said. "It was in one of the property bags so I guess they just threw it in there as a joke figuring that corporate communications would pick up on it but apparently not and I've got an earful."
Cardwell said a lot of the jewelry recovered was costume jewelry and investigators believe the thieves melted all the other stuff down.
"They'd usually sell the stuff the day of the break-in, what we recovered was the stuff they couldn't pawn, it had no value."
Cardwell said he hopes some of the more "unique" pieces of costume jewelry — most of which are small and have little value — will be identified by victims of break-ins not yet known to investigators.
Police allege the suspects would ring doorbells or knock on doors of homes in York and Peel regions, and kick in the doors when there was no answer.
Four men are facing a total of more than 65 charges related to the break-ins.
By Matt Ingram in Toronto
The Canadian Press