Man spends night on the streets as punishment for stealing Salvation Army collection kettle

Sunday, January 27, 2008

PAINESVILLE, Ohio -- A Salvation Army worker who was ordered by a judge to spend a night homeless for stealing a holiday kettle containing about $250 returned to court Friday with red eyes and red cheeks.

Nathen Smith, who was fitted with a GPS device to track his moves, spent Thursday night ducking in and out of government buildings for warmth, including a stop at the Lake County sheriff's office.

Smith also walked through a park, but did not go under a bridge where many of Painesville's homeless sleep, probation supervisor David Washlock said.

"It's hard to find a spot to go that's warm, unless you're inside," an unshaven Smith told Municipal Judge Michael Cicconetti, who issued the sentence.

Smith, 28, worked as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army outside a Kmart store in nearby Eastlake on Dec. 17. Police arrested Smith at his mother's house after a co-worker reported that one of eight kettles was missing.

The Salvation Army uses kettle donations to help pay for food, clothing and shelter for the homeless.

Smith, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft, still must serve three days in jail, do eight hours of community service, get a general equivalency diploma and find a job, the judge said.

Painesville is about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland.

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