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Ex-bell ringer threatens Salvation Army employees at knife-point

Posted at 4:40 PM, Dec 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-19 23:08:27-05

Three Salvation Army employees including a bell-ringer were threatened by a former kettle worker Tuesday. 

According to a news release, the suspect threatened an employee and bell ringer with a knife at the Walgreens on Brown Deer Road, but no money was taken. The suspect was fired as a kettle worker. 

"One of our staff members went out there to remove him from the site and it was at that time he became quite agitated. He pulled out a knife and started waving it around. Made some threats against the Salvation Army employee," said Major Steven Merritt.

The suspect also threatened the life of a Salvation Army officer over the phone. They remain at large. 

For the safety of the staff and volunteers, The Salvation Army took 40 kettles off the street for the day. When the suspect is caught, the kettles will reopen. 

"We want to make sure volunteers are safe. We want to make sure the public is certainly safe. That there are not any more incidents," Merritt said.

It's saddened people who donate who know how critical this last week before Christmas is for the Salvation Army.

"That's terrible. It's really a good thing that they are doing," said Michelle Schwery.

The threats could have a monetary effect on The Salvation Army, as the kettles closing average $5,000 to $6,500 a day in donations during a year when donations are down. The red kettle campaign runs until Dec. 23.

The Salvation Army said they know the man who made the threat and reported him to police.