MAUMEE, Ohio – A man who claimed to hate Christmas shoved a Salvation Army bell ringer to the ground and swiped one of the charity's red kettles stuffed with hundreds of dollars, police said.
The bell ringer, an unemployed woman, tried to pull the kettle away from the man Saturday evening, but he pushed her down and said, "I can't stand you and your bell-ringing. I hate Christmas," police said. The bell ringer chased him into a store parking lot before he tossed the kettle into the back of a stolen pickup truck and sped away, police said.
An empty kettle was found a day later. Police arrested Shawn Krieger of Toledo on Monday morning and charged him with robbery.
The Salvation Army estimated that the kettle held $500 to $700.
The bell ringer, whose name hasn't been released, had been collecting money outside a general store for most of the day when she was shoved from behind, said Capt. Steven Lopes, coordinator of the Salvation Army in northwest Ohio.
"She was so upset," Lopes said. "She was concerned that she wouldn't be allowed to bell-ring anymore. We want her to continue."
Krieger, 44, walked by the bell ringer at least twice before he made a grab for the money, said police Sgt. Jeff Siebenaler.
No witnesses have come forward even though the store was crowded, he said. "These things happen so fast sometimes people don't know what they saw was a crime occurring," Siebenaler said.
One shopper wrote down the truck's license plate number, and others consoled the bell ringer, who suffered a small cut when she tugged at the kettle, Lopes said.
Evidence inside the stolen truck, which was found in Toledo, led police to Krieger, Siebenaler said. Krieger could face more charges for the stolen vehicle, Siebenaler said.
Krieger was being held Monday on $25,000 bond. The judge will assign a public defender to his case.