UPDATE: According to police, 27-year-old Cody J. Eggum of Albert Lea admitted to the kettle theft on Monday afternoon.
Albert Lea Police Lt. Darin Palmer met with Eggum and says that he “couldn’t stand the heat of the media” and says that is why he turned himself in.
Along with admitting to the theft of the kettle, Eggum wrote out a $60 check to help reimburse the Salvation Army for the stolen property.
Lt. Palmer says that during his interview, the 27-year-old said he looked through the dumpster where he got rid of the kettle to return it to the thrift store, but was unable to retrieve it as the garbage had already been picked up that day.
ALBERT LEA, Minn. – Their mission is to give, but now the Salvation Army in Albert Lea is hoping to receive some help from the general public.
On Wednesday night, just before the Salvation Army Family Store closed for the night, an unidentified white male stole a red kettle filled with donation money.
Captain Jim Brickson says that incidents like this have prompted him to take extra measures when it comes to security at their retail locations.
“We’re taking this stuff seriously,” he says, “whether it’s a pair of pants or a pair of shoes, or our counter kettles that supports the mission of the Salvation Army.”
For Brickson, this invasion of trust from his community was a surprise, but it didn’t come as a shock to others in the community.
“People will steal from churches they steal from anything so it wasn’t a big shock that someone had stolen from them,” says Lt. Darin Palmer with the Albert Lea Police Department.
Palmer deals with theft cases on a regular basis and says that situations like this are disheartening for the community, but says he’s confident they will identify robber and bring justice to the case.
Captain Brickson is estimating that the kettle was worth roughly $60 and that the contents of the kettle could have been close to $150.
Because of this estimated amount, Palmer says the thief will only be charged with a misdemeanor for the crime, and while Brickson says theft is something he sees far too often in his thrift store, all he wants now is change.
“It doesn’t matter who he stole from he still stole and we need to stop these thugs in our community from doing what they’re doing.”