‘You really oughta be ashamed’: Local Salvation Army bell ringer calls imposter’s actions insulting

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — An organization known for giving to people is looking to catch someone who is making that mission harder. The Salvation Army said a woman pretending to be a bell ringer got away with one of its red kettles, possibly with money inside.

The organization says the impost did not hurt them, but she may have hurt families in need. A Spokane bell ringer says the woman’s actions are insulting.

“It’s kinda like insulting to those of us who do this for the love of what we do,” said Randy Harvey. “It’s enjoyable because I like people and I enjoy being out in the public.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the Salvation Army says the woman posed as a bell ringer at the Yoke’s on Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley. A Salvation Army driver went by to pick up the full kettle while the woman was there.

He replaced it with an empty one. While he was switching them out, the driver tells 4 News Now something seemed off. The driver says the woman could not answer specific questions, like how she got to the store.

“The driver came back, he said there was somebody there and we said, ‘oh there’s nobody scheduled for there,'” said Major Ken Perine with Salvation Army Spokane. “Went back and they were already gone.”

Perine is not sure how long the woman was taking money with the new kettle before stealing it. He says a battery from the TipTap payment sign was also gone.

“Rather than robbing from other people, we have the ability to help you — come see us,” he explained. “You’re not stealing from the Salvation Army. You’re stealing from our neighbors in need.”

The Salvation Army reported it to Crime Check. The organization says the store did not have any surveillance video of the woman, so the only description they have is based on the driver’s interaction.

“How do you trust somebody not knowing whether they’re really them or just got a little red bib and a red kettle to say give me your money, I’m giving it to charity and then it turns out to be a scam,” Harvey said.

Bell ringers like Harvey take pride in what they do. He says he is disappointed with the woman’s actions.

“You really oughta be ashamed and if you really want to do something, actually give it back,” he said. “Just show up at the office. I’m sure they’d be happy to take it.”

The Salvation Army is waiting on a report number. However, if you know anything about the woman or stolen kettle, you are encouraged to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.

RELATED: Salvation Army: Girl posing as bell ringer stole red kettle from Spokane grocery store

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