Fredonia Police are looking to catch a thief red handed with a red kettle.
A woman who volunteered to ring the bell and collect donations for the annual Red Kettle campaign took off with the kettle, including the money.
According to Salvation Army commanding officer Lt. Daniel Gonzalez, a woman walked off with the kettle while working on a four-hour shift Saturday at Wal-Mart in Fredonia. Gonzalez dropped off the woman at Wal-Mart at 2 p.m. to volunteer for her shift but Gonzalez received a call around 5 p.m. saying the woman was gone.
"Somebody drove by (Wal-Mart) and the whole bucket was gone," he said.
Gonzalez said the woman, who said her name was Tamika, volunteered for a shift when the Salvation Army needed someone to fill in at the last minute.
"We were in need of a worker. My wife spoke to her and we put her out (at WalMart)," Gonzalez said. "She gave us a phone number and we called her. She said she couldn't come in until 2."
While Gonzalez had a phone number for Tamika, attempts to reach her have been unsuccessful. Fredonia Police are investigating the incident. While Gonzalez is not sure how much money was in the kettle, he said it could have easily been $1,000.
"We don't know exactly (the amount)," he said. "We do know that the kettle she took at Wal-Mart was out from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., we're talking $1,500 easy."
All the proceeds from the Red Kettle campaign go toward supporting the Salvation Army and its programs throughout the year.
"I really feel for the community, this is for them. The Salvation Army is just a vessel for God to use to be able to help the community," Gonzalez said. "It helps us to run the church, to help the community and run the programs. We can't survive without the community."
According to Fredonia Police, Tamika was standing on the pharmacy side door of Walmart when she took the kettle. She is described as an African-American female, between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 5 inches in height with a smaller build and short black hair. She was wearing a brown jacket with fur-like material around the hood, black pants and white sneakers. If anyone has information on her whereabouts, they are asked to call police at 679-1531.