A red kettle was stolen from Salvation Army volunteers who were ringing bells for donations at the Walmart Supercenter on West Hwy 64 in Tyler Saturday, according to police.
Salvation Army representatives also confirm a kettle was stolen.
Police said the man ran out of Walmart at 7:30 p.m. wearing a blue hoodie. Witnessed said he grabbed the kettle from beside a bell-ringer and police said he jumped into a car and drove away.
Rev. Orenthia Mason of St. James CME church told CBS 19 the man narrowly missed hitting one of her church members, who was ringing the bell at the time.
“I had stepped inside briefly, but if I had been there, he would have knocked me over,” Rev. Mason said. It’s so heartbreaking because the kettle was so full, people had to press the money down into the kettle. What kind of person can take what people gave to help those who are in need?”
They and members of Mount Nevelton Church in Bullard had been standing in the rain all day to collect donations.
“So many people gave gladly from their hearts, children gave, even babies gave,” Mason said. “Our church members stood joyfully, trying to make a difference in the lives of people who are depending on the salvation army.”
She said she is glad no one was hurt and that she hopes surveillance footage can provide some clues that lead to the thief’s arrest.
“I’m very upset but one man with evil in his heart will not deter us from helping to make a difference,” said Mason. “I’ve done it every year and will continue to do so. It’s a joy to give.”