Salvation Army officials say only a few employees knew the location of the money-counting station where the robbery occurred Friday night, The Charlotte Observer reports. Police say the robbers probably followed a collector to the station.
The robbers, with black bandannas hiding their faces, emerged from a Jeep Cherokee as collectors were arriving with kettles. They forced three employees to lie on the floor and loaded 13 kettles into the Jeep.
Officials say the money would have been used to buy toys for poor children and to finance the Salvation Army shelter in Charlotte.
"They're stealing from the people who would receive the benefit of the $4,000 that we don't have now," said Jim Price, a Salvation Army spokesman.