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“Terrible event:” Salvation Army red kettles stolen at gunpoint, United Way steps up with generous grant

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MILWAUKEE -- Thieves armed with a gun stole two Salvation Army red kettles from the organization's Citadel Worship and Corps Community Center. Now, another organization is stepping up to cover those losses.

Salvation Army officials say the organization has been targeted by criminals before, and kettles have been stolen.

Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign

Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign

But this was the first armed robbery targeting the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army red kettles are symbols of kindness and holiday giving to benefit the less fortunate.

So whoever it was that stole red kettles at gunpoint last week makes the Grinch look pretty good.

"A terrible event," Salvation Army Major Dan Jennings said.

Jennings says the incident happened last Thursday evening, December 3rd outside the Salvation Army on Villard Avenue.

Salvation Army

Salvation Army

"Just as they were bringing the kettles in at the end of the night, someone approached the van with a gun and put it in the face of the driver and demanded the kettles, so you can imagine she was absolutely terrified," Jennings said.

Police say the suspect got away with two kettles. Two other suspects were waiting nearby.

It's unclear exactly how much money was taken.

"You know, it could be a couple hundred dollars, could be a thousand dollars. We just never know until we open up that kettle and count those," Jennings said.

Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign

"My immediate reaction was just sadness," Nicole Angresano with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County said.

And thankfully, the Christmas spirit is alive and well among United Way officials.

Officials with the United Way decided to replace the stolen funds with a $500 grant to the Salvation Army of Milwaukee County.

"We let them know that we would immediately direct $500 in support to them, which would cover with a little bit extra, the lost money," Angresano said.

Salvation Army

Salvation Army

Salvation Army officials say there are new security measures in place, and kettles are no longer being counted at the Villard location.

"Since it's been compromised, we've moved to an off-site location and we'll do the counting there at a much more secure facility," Jennings said.

Salvation Army and United Way officials say they're hopeful the generosity to come this holiday season will be more memorable than this one crime.

No one was hurt in this incident -- though we're told the victim will be receiving counseling.

Milwaukee police are looking for the suspects in this case.

As for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign this season, officials say they're about a quarter of the way to their $4 million fundraising goal.

CLICK HERE to make a donation to the Salvation Army, or to learn how you can become a volunteer.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.


    • Molon labe

      It’s sad that you’re falling for it. Don’t you think there are more stories out there that don’t get reported ya knucklehead. It’s scripted yo.

  • Scrooge

    Where to begin with this one: First I am going to guess the thief was desperate and needed money. Isn’t that why the Salvation Army is out there in the first place? Second: How do they know how much money was in the kettle that was stolen? So another “Charity” uses the money they collected to donate to another charity. Why? So the Red Kettles are going to have less money. So what? United Way will have a few hundred dollars more to give out. Remember when the CEO of United Way was flying first class and getting paid $400K a year? I also read a store here that one woman working for the Salvation Army was seen “shaking” the red kettle to get money out for her kid to use in the stores vending machines.
    I personally find the Salvation Army’s bell ringers so ANNOYING that I will NEVER give them money.
    Why must a person have to stand out side in the cold and ring a stupid bell? We all can see them? Is not the ice cream man where I can buy a treat. They want money. Why can’t the just install “red kettles” or boxes inside the store by the registers where you check out? Or have a “round up” program? McDonalds has the Ronald McDonald “houses” on their counters where you can donate money without being ANNOYED by some ANNOYING BELL RINGING!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kate Maggy

      In first place, you can’t say things you don’t know…
      If the person who stole the kettle needed money, he should have asked for some money, and I’m sure the person with the kettle and the bell -That isn’t annoying, I’m sure he or she isn’t next to you all day- would have giving some money to the person…
      I’m from The Salvation Army and I am honored to participate on every activity they do, you don’t know how much they have helped me…
      I assist to Church and it is a beautiful experience to form part of it…
      Please, I ask you to not say things you don’t know…
      I invite you to form part of it and help, maybe they have helped you and you don’t even know…
      God bless you and your Family…
      I recommend you to visit for one day Church, and I’m sure you’ll have lots of blessings…
      Help, and don’t speak bad about it…
      I hope you can be one too…
      God bless you…

  • Molon labe

    OH THIEVES !!! White or BLack ones? What are we looking for? Milwaukee hasn’t changed, the reporting has. Shift gears to gun violence, shift gears to EBOLA, shift gears to a LION etc…Watching MSM is like watching the same magician do the same tricks over and over again.
    Educate your kids to NOT steal.

      • Michael Neals

        Fed-up the very people that stole may have or could even be using services provided by the Salvation Army. Donations are down-a lot of jobs lost in milwaukee/madison with places closing. Sad.

  • Molon labe

    I guess it doesn’t matter the words “gun-point” were in there, should be enough to scare people.
    Wake up people. Control through Fear. Sometimes you use fear to train a dog, even a child. The Elites are our parents. WE the PEOPLE are the kids. Raise your hand if you do not understand this dynamic. Yes it’s been happening for ages. Yes it’s F’kt up! Wake up and arm yourself while you can, tell the truth and don’t fall victim to the greedy scum bags that rule this earth. Stand up for the REAL America, LIFE, LIBERTY, Real TRUE American Patriots should continue to denounce the scripted Main Stream Media and continue to learn about our shadow gov’t.

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