Two Salvation Army red kettles have been stolen from the same location in downtown Chicago in less than a week, the organization said Monday.
Twice in three days last week, police said they received reports of a bucket stolen from the 700 block of North Michigan Avenue, just outside a Neiman Marcus store.
The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division said both thefts were caught on tape and surveillance video was given to police as they investigate.
The theft will cost Chicago’s Temple Community Corps nearly $1,000 “in replacing the equipment and loss of donations,” Shanna Schwarze with the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division said in a statement.
Both incidents took place while a bell ringer took a bathroom break inside Neiman Marcus. The first incident happened Tuesday just before 4 p.m. and the second incident happened Friday at about the same time.
In the first theft, the bucket was stolen. In the second, both the bucket and its stand were taken.
Bell ringer Antionette Levi-Bell says it’s not a good feeling.
“You come out and see your bucket is gone and you know it’s to help people and stuff and someone came up and took it,” she said. “I cried for a minute.”
Major Barbara Owen, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, noted how cumbersome the kettles are to steal.
“It’s not very easy to just pick it up and run with it,” she said, also noting the money was meant for people who have fallen on hard times. “Christmas meals, Christmas toys. It goes to pay for people who may be being evicted, utilities shut off.”
Merriah Guccione was donating to the Salvation Army on Michigan Avenue Monday.
“It really hurts me to see something like that,” she said of the recent thefts. “We’re all trying to help and everyone is struggling.”
Anyone looking to donate can donate directly to the bucket at 737 Michigan Ave. or visit Salarmychicago.org.