AURORA, Colo. -- Two Salvation Army red kettles have been stolen from two Aurora shopping centers this month. The thieves even stole the iconic red bell, apron and sign.
Local Salvation Army officials are warning Aurora donors that there could be people posing as bell ringers
Lt. Sam LeMar said the incidents happened within a few weeks of each other at the Southlands shopping center and Aurora Town Center.
LeMar said there was a gap between shift changes during the day and someone had cut off the lock that keeps the kettle attached to the stand.
“We’ve stopped ringing at one of the locations for the time being until we figure out what happened. The other one we still ring at, but we’ve alerted the store employees so they know to keep a better eye on the kettle,” LeMar said.
It’s unclear how much money was taken, but LeMar said typically bell ringers raise between $300 and $500 a day.
“Someone took away from kids because these kettles directly go to helping kids in the city of Aurora and outlying areas," LeMar said.
"So every last bit of money goes to helping the community. When someone steals from that, they’re stealing from the community."
LeMar warns donors to only offer cash when they see the bell ringers outside big shopping centers or grocery stores.
“If you see someone with just the kettle and the sign, that’s a red flag. If you see someone with just the kettle, that’s a red flag. They need to have the stand, the sign, the red apron, the kettle and the bell,” LeMar said.