Former Bay Area firefighter accused of stealing $25,000 from toy drive for poor families

A former San Bruno firefighter was arrested this week on suspicion of stealing more than $25,000 from the firefighter's union annual toy drive for low income families, police said.

Holly Kaye Nelson was taken into custody Monday on a warrant for two felony counts of grand theft, according to Lt. Troy Fry of the San Bruno Police Department.


Detectives began investigating the 53-year-old Cloverdale, Calif., resident in December when the San Bruno Professional Firefighters Assn. noticed discrepancies in their account, officials said.

They discovered Nelson had been taking money from the association's bank account for more than two years, Fry said in a written statement.

According to the association, its members discovered checks that had been made out to Nelson. She also allegedly made ATM withdrawals from the account, the association said in a written statement.

Nelson oversaw the toy drive for 10 years, according to the association. She left the San Bruno Fire Department in October 2016 before the investigation was launched, officials said.

"Although we are both shocked and saddened by the situation, we will not let it stop us from moving forward," the association said. "We have taken numerous steps to ensure nothing like this ever happens again, including updating our policies and procedures to require greater oversight and accountability when handling and managing funds."

The toy drive raised funds through donations from San Bruno residents and helped serve thousands of families for nearly 15 years.

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