TYLER - Orenthia Mason didn't actually see the red kettle get stolen, but she was at the Walmart where it happened. She spent hours, ringing the bell, in the cold-rain. Mason said as soon as she walked inside for break, the person ran away with the red kettle and even took the stand. Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army is an act of service Orenthia Mason has done for more than 10 years.
"The Salvation Army is an awesome organization," Mason said, who thought she never would see the day a person steal a red kettle.
The video of the incident showcased it from inside the Walmart (near 64). A person wearing a hoodie casually walked towards the kettle and sprinted off wih it.
"It broke my heart and then I became a little upset," Mason said. "I was angry at the idea that we had been standing there all day trying to make a difference."
Mason expressed how she didn't appreciate the person's actions. She said the thief was taking from people who were trying to make a difference for those who need help. The Salvation Army has a goal to raise three hundred seventy-five thousand dollars and Captain Robert Parker said they're behind where they need to be.
"When you hear somebody take that [kettle money] those funds would go to individuals, it's kind of disheartening," Parker said.
While there wasn't an official count of how much was stolen. Parker said every little bit helps. Despite what they're faced with, Parker is staying optimistic, hoping people will pull through with their goal.
"What ever happens it won't keep us from being able to help people that need our help this holiday season," Parker said.
However, Orenthia Mason wants justice. She expressed how she hoped authorities will find the person responsible. Tyler police said the punishment for stealing a red kettle would be up to a Class A misdemeanor.
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