Man Who Stole Holiday Kettle Sentenced to One Homeless Night

Judge orders man who stole from charity to spend a night homeless

A judge ordered a charity worker who stole a holiday kettle containing about $250 to spend the night homeless.

Nathen Smith, 28, was to spend the night anywhere but a house, said Municipal Judge Michael Cicconetti. Smith was fitted with a GPS device to track his moves.

"My initial reaction was, 'Wow.' But I don't think the sentence is too harsh," said Smith, who expected to spend Thursday night in a homeless shelter. "I can see the judge's point because what I did, I shouldn't have done. Now I've got to pay the consequences."

The Salvation Army charity uses kettle donations to help pay for food, clothing and shelter for the homeless.

Smith, who also received a three-day jail sentence, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft.

Smith worked as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army outside a Kmart store in nearby Eastlake on Dec. 17. Police arrested him at his mother's house after a co-worker reported that one of eight kettles was missing.

Smith was scheduled to return to court Friday to determine how much community service he must do to avoid paying a fine and costs for the tracking system.

Painesville is about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland.