Salvation Army Red Kettles stolen in Winston-Salem

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Thieves are robbing people in Winston-Salem of their Christmas cheer.

Monday afternoon, the Salvation Army discovered six of their Red Kettles were stolen, along with the ringers' aprons and bells.

"I've never had that in my experience anything like that ever happening before. It's just the weirdest thing," said Maj. Jim Rickard, with the Salvation Army.

The thief or thieves hit six different locations in Winston-Salem. Stealing two kettles from the Walmart on Peter's Creek Parkway, two kettles at Hanes Mall outside Macy's and the UPS store, one kettle from Hobby Lobby near Hanes Mall Boulevard and one kettle at A.C. Moore on Silas Creek Parkway.

Rickard says they raise over half their funding during the Red Kettle Campaign and they don't want people to second guess donating.

"I can only envision they are thinking about using it to hoodoo the public and get somebody to donate to them. If you see somebody walking around with a little red kettle, we call it a red pot, and even if they got an apron on and one of our bells that they stole they are not a bonafide bell ringer. They have to be at a stand, a tripod, to be an official ringer," Rickard said.

There are several ways to help you know if a bell ringer is fake.

The Salvation Army does not ring on Thanksgiving Day, Sundays or after 8 p.m.

Real ringers will always be stationed in front of established businesses, such as grocery stores or big-box retailers.

The nonprofit also plans to label each red kettle with a sticker of the Salvation Army shield to prove it's legitimate.

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