Red Kettle donation money stolen from Salvation Army

WSMV's Michael Warrick reports on the Red Kettle theft.
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 5:50 PM CST
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LEBANON, Tn. (WSMV) - Red Kettle donation money was stolen from the Salvation Army of Wilson County this week, and now the charity is trying to make up for what it lost.

Lebanon Police say a thief or group of thieves busted through a window at the charity’s Lebanon facility and made out with more than $1,000.

The money had been raised by volunteers, ringing bells out front grocery and big-box stores on Monday. Investigators believe the theft occurred sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning. Lebanon Police are investigating the case.

“I was in I guess shock or disbelief,” Sergeant Tom Freeman of the Salvation Army of Wilson County said. “We saw the window busted out and that’s when you get that sinking feeling in your stomach, and you’re like, ‘oh no, I think I know what might’ve just happened.’”

The theft came at a critical time for the Salvation Army, when their holiday fundraising makes up about a third of their yearly budget.

“It’s really not our money. It’s the community’s money. I believe it’s the kids’ money that we serve. I believe it’s God’s money, so yeah, I’d ask you to bring it back,” Freeman said. “I want our community to know that we’re not going anywhere. That our hope is to shine love and light this Christmas time.”

Freeman has already been encouraged by the support of the community who’ve heard about what happened and felt compelled to donate.

Peggy Chumney drove by the Salvation Army of Wilson County on Friday and gave some money.

“Whoever did it ought to be ashamed because you are stealing from the church,” Chumney said. “I hope they catch him; I really do because that’s wrong. You don’t steal from the house of God.”

If you’re interested in volunteering, adopting an angel or donating to their online Red Kettle, visit here.