Winston-Salem police identify man accused of stealing Salvation Army kettle; suspect still wanted

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Police in Winston-Salem have identified a man accused of stealing a Salvation Army donation kettle, but are still looking for him.

William James Purvis Jr., 39, of Kernersville, allegedly ran off with the kettle outside the Walmart at 3475 Parkway Village Circle at about 6:40 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17.

Police said the bell ringer was re-attaching the kettle to the stand after returning from a break when a suspect pulled it out of his hand.

The bell ringer briefly chased the suspect but was unable to keep up, according to police. No one was injured.

Police issued a warrant for arrest for misdemeanor larceny and second degree trespassing for the suspect on Christmas.

The suspect is described as a black male, about 6-feet tall and weighing about 170 pounds. He is bald with a mustache.

Authorities said surveillance video shows the suspect. Police said the suspect may be driving a silver or pewter pickup truck; possibly a late 90s model Chevrolet with no tailgate. The driver’s side rear window was reportedly covered in plastic and duct tape.

This location has averaged $351 per day in donations this Christmas season, according to the Salvation Army.

This was the second time this Christmas season that a Salvation Army kettle in Winston-Salem was stolen. The first red kettle theft happened on Dec. 8 at the Lowe’s Foods on Reynolda Road.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the suspect can call Winston-Salem police at (336) 773-7700 or Crimestoppers at (336) 727-2800.