Watch CBS News

East Bay Salvation Army Bell Ringers Attacked, Robbed Of Red Kettles

CONCORD (KPIX 5) — The Salvation Army in Contra Costa County is in disbelief after two kettle thefts in the course of a week.

The first theft happened outside the Lucky supermarket on Arnold Drive in Martinez. The suspect knew how the group's kettles were collected at the end of the night.

He asked the volunteer to sign paperwork as though he worked with the Salvation Army, then he collected the kettle and took off. 10 minutes later, the scheme came into focus when the real Salvation Army employee came around.

"He said, 'Oh, no. The guy came to get the kettle.' Then we realized, no that wasn't our guy. Sadly, he was duped by a trickster and he took the kettle," said Major Gwyn Jones of the Salvation Army.

"It's a sad thing. It's disappointing. A couple of guys felt they could just take some money, which goes directly back into the community to help people with food, turkeys, toys and help all year long," Jones said.

WATCH: CBSN Bay Area – 24/7 Digital News Channel from KPIX 5

The second theft happened Tuesday outside of Hobby Lobby in Concord when a man rode by on a bicycle and sprayed Eileen, a bell ringer, in the face with some type of liquid. He stole the kettle and rode away with hundreds of dollars while she was blinded.

"Oh, my gosh that's horrible. That's awful. Especially this time of year when they're just trying to make money and do good for the people that need it. That's awful," said Hobby Lobby shopper Kim Sanner of Walnut Creek.

Major Jones has message for the thieves:

"You may think you're doing something good for yourself, but you've hurt a lot of other people by the money you've taken away that directly goes to help many different families around the area."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.