Stolen toys recovered by police in North Miami passed out to children battling cancer

Parents founded Mystic Force Foundation after losing son to cancer

MIAMI – A trailer full of stolen toys was recovered last month by police and now the toys are finally going where they belong, to children who are battling cancer.

The toys were passed out Monday afternoon to children at Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

"For them to come in here and be able to play with toys and have fun and do crafts and eat food that's not hospital food, you know, for a little while to make them feel like regular kids -- it is very heartwarming," Sylvia Vanni said.

Vanni, who is the co-founder of the Mystic Force Foundation along with her husband, told Local 10 News that the trailer used by the organization was stolen from her driveway at her North Miami home the morning of April 24. Vanni took to social media and created fliers, desperately hoping someone would come forward. 

Tips led police to a home in Sunrise, where they found the trailer and many of the toys, valued at $20,000. The rest of the toys were found later in the week.

"I was told that we would never recover anything, so I'm so grateful for everyone who shared our post and helped us find all these toys," Vanni said.

Sunrise police arrested Dudley Merus, 30, and Endy Merus, 25, who face grand theft charges.

The Mystic Force Foundation helps raise money for cancer research. It also collects toys for children who are undergoing cancer treatment. Vanni made her mission to help children with cancer after losing her own son, who died of stage 4 neuroblastoma.

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