The kettle disappeared Wednesday afternoon while Salvation Army bellringer James Griffin III was helping a woman trying to get her four grandchildren through the doors of the Belk store in the Hanes mall in Winston-Salem, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. When Griffin returned to his post, about $50 he had collected plus the kettle, valued at around $75, were missing.
"I was disheartened," he said. "They took my hard work."
Police said they have no leads on the theft. Griffin did not see who took the kettle and security cameras did not provide any useful images.
Griffin, putting in his second season as a bell ringer, was soon back at work.
"The ringing of the bell is a cry, a plea to help 24,000 people in the city and county of which 10,000 are kids," Griffin said. "We are trying to feed, clothe and provide Christmas toys to these kids."
Major James Allison said Julia Outlaw, manager at the Belk store, a clothing retailer, donated $100 after she learned of the theft.
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