For over 120 years, Salvation Army volunteers have been ringing bells alongside red kettle pots to raise money during the holiday season.
And some generous souls began another tradition in more recent years by dropping valuable gold coins into random Salvation Army pots around the Chicago area.
Now, Chicago’s always-present criminal element has apparently launched its own holiday tradition: Stealing Salvation Army donation kettles.
It happened for the second time this month on Wednesday afternoon outside Macy’s in the Loop, police said.
The bell ringer told police a thief took his entire bucket, stand, and donation sign while he took a bathroom break around 3:45 p.m.
The kettle probably contained about $300 in donations, the Salvation Army said. The pot and stand are worth another $200.
Wednesday’s incident is the second time that a Salvation Army kettle was stolen in the downtown area this month.
Around 6 p.m. on Dec. 1, someone stole a donation kettle and stand on the 600 block of North Michigan while its attendant took a break, the charity said in a press release.
“All the money that is raised in the red kettles stays locally to help support families with food, energy assistance, clothing, toys, and so much more,” Salvation Army Captain Jonathan Tamayo said at the time.
Charitable donations aren’t the only thing our great city’s thieves stole in the Loop on Wednesday evening.
Around 7:40 p.m., a woman called 911 to report that someone stole her gray husky-like dog while she ran inside to make a purchase at Walgreens, 191 North Clark.
A nearby surveillance camera captured images of a man and woman as they untied the dog and walked away with it northbound on Clark Street. Police said the thieves wore dark clothing, and the woman had a backpack.
It’s not the first time that someone has stolen a dog downtown while its owner ran a quick errand.
On Oct. 3, a man walked away with Caela, a 17-month-old shepherd mix while her owner picked up an order at Gus’ Fried Chicken at 401 North State. Caela was found about a month later in Wisconsin following an intense social media campaign.