Salvation Army Red Kettle stolen from Milwaukee grocery store

MILWAUKEE - MILWAUKEE - The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign is in full swing, but someone decided to steal instead of give at the Pick ‘N Save on Good Hope Road. 

According to the bell ringer, the thieves told him that security needed to speak with him.

While the bell ringer was in the store, they took off with the kettle. 

The Salvation Army says there was probably less money in the kettle than it was worth. 

"The potential of that kettle is around $200 for the day," said Major Tim Meyer. "We will have to replace the equipment which is about $300. For $200, we can serve a number of people a good meal. We have our Christmas family feast on Christmas Day. We have programs all year long that serve the needy. We have an emergency lodge that is funded through these funds. Fee the kids program, all kinds of toy and gift and coat programs all year round. Especially during the winter time."

It was hard for patrons to believe someone would stoop so low as to steal from the Salvation Army. 

"Who would think to steal from the people with the Salvation Army?" said Liz Essex of Milwaukee. "That's pretty low."

"That's terrible," said Yvette Blazer of Milwaukee. "My daughter always takes money and wants to go run up to the kettle and put the money in. It means something to her too. It teaches her about Christmas and what it really means. You know, giving to others."

The incident is a microcosm of a bigger problem facing the charitable organization this year. They are $30,000 behind where they were at this point last year. 

"Weather does play a factor," Meyer said. "When people feel cold themselves, they realize there are other people that are cold and may not have the means they have to put a coat on themselves, a blanket or pay for their own heat."

Police hope surveillance video will help track down the crooks. 

If you recognize the person in the photo, or know anything about the crime, please contact police.

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