WAVERLY, Md. (WJZ) — A Salvation Army Red Kettle was stolen from a Baltimore grocery store Tuesday afternoon.
It was taken from in front of the Giant Food supermarket on 33rd St., and the charity is asking for the community’s help to identify those who stole it.
“It leaves me speechless, then again, it doesn’t surprise me,” said Michael Eisler, Baltimore resident.
The Red Kettle Campaign helps raise money for all of The Salvation Army’s local programs and services, including meals for the hungry, holiday gifts, feeding programs, social services, and educational programs.
The organization said the volunteer was speaking to a donor when the suspect, who had been panhandling in the area, quickly slipped the red kettle off the stand. They are not sure how much money was inside.
“We are not immune to acts of desperation, even with everything we offer our community,” said Captain Ryan Vincent, Salvation Army officer. “This is our season to raise as much funding as possible to help those in desperate situations and this theft will definitely affect the capacity in which we can respond. We appreciate Giant Food of Waverly and the Baltimore police department for all of their help in responding to this incident.”
Captain Vincent said the fundraising goal each holiday season is $500,000, money which provides services for the needy. He also said the person who took the kettle could have been a recipient.
If they are found, Vincent said he does not want to press charges.
“I don’t think this person acted maliciously or had any ill intent against the Salvation Army. I think this person was acting out in desperation and these are the kind of people we raise money for,” Vincent said.
After Tuesday’s incident, Vincent said Red Kettle volunteers are being reminded to be vigilant, as foot traffic and the season of giving picks up.
“It’s nonsense to me. I guess people just feel desperate and they just feel like they can take whatever they want,” said Roslyn Richardson, a Baltimore resident.
Vincent said robberies are rare with the Salvation Army. He said he believes surveillance cameras captured the suspect before she disappeared.
Anyone with information about this theft is asked to call the Baltimore Police Department.