Salvation Army bellringer in KC charged with theft

Sunday, November 23, 2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Salvation Army bellringer has been charged with stealing donations and using some of the proceeds to buy a lottery ticket.

Stephanie Beavers, 36, of Kansas City was arrested Thursday after a woman told police she had seen Beavers put a dollar into her pocket after receiving it as a donation. The woman then had her brother give two marked bills to the bellringer.

The woman and her brother said they called the police after they watched the bellringer use one of the dollars to buy a lottery ticket from a machine.

Police said one bill was found in the lottery machine and the other with the bellringer's personal money.

Beavers was charged with a municipal count of stealing.

A spokeswoman for the Salvation Army said this was the first year Beavers was a bellringer, while other officials said they have safeguards to secure donations.

"Kettles have locks on them and bellringers do not have keys to kettles," said Lt. Col. Theodore Dalberg of the Salvation Army Kansas/Western Missouri Division. "In order to secure your donation, we ask the public to put the money directly into the kettle and not hand it to someone at the kettle site."

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