Monday, December 22, 1997

Salvation Army taking caution with kettles after recent thefts

Published in the Columbia Missourian

The Salvation Army has already lost two kettles in Columbia this year. The organization is hoping not to lose any more.

"We're trying to make sure that our bell ringers are safe," Salvation Army Maj. Max Grindle said Sunday. "We want them to know that their lives are more important than the money."

He is relieved that both thefts took place when the bell ringers were not around the kettles. The first theft was just of the kettle itself. The second, which took place Saturday outside the Schnucks grocery store on Forum Boulevard, was more involved.

"The person or persons who did it just picked the whole stand up, put it in a vehicle and drove away," Grindle said.

The Salvation Army is taking precautions to prevent kettle theft. The group will start chaining down the kettle stands wherever possible and emptying the kettles periodically.

"We're exchanging kettles every three or four hours so if it does get stolen, they won't get much," Grindle said.