BURLINGTON, N.C.-- Burlington Police say on Friday they got a report of a stolen red kettle from the Salvation Army post at Lowes Foods in Burlington.

The catch? The man was posing as a Salvation Army Bell Ringer.

Someone dressed as a bell ringer at Lowes Foods on University Drive told the real bell ringer it was time to pack up early due to the weather.

The fake bell ringer said he was there to help, but really, he was on a mission to take the red kettle.

"It takes a special kind of sorry to steal a salvation army bucket. That money in the bucket goes to help so many needy families this time of year, and for an individual to do that, it is pretty low down," said Assistan Chief Chris Verdeck, with the Burlington Police Department.

When the bell ringer stepped away for a moment, the Salvation Army says the man picked up the red kettle, loaded it up in a white SUV, and took off.

Now, families in Alamance County might have to go without in their time of need.

"From several light bills, to a kid having Christmas on Christmas day. It could be the determining factor for a person having shelter during Christmas or not having shelter during the wintertime," said Lt. Derrick Smith, with The Alamance County Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is devastated by the crime, but the organization isn't forgetting one thing.

"Well, forgiveness. The bottom line is we realize things happen, but it does make you wonder and make you think. Why would a person do this?"

While nobody knows the actual amount of money stolen, the Salvation Army estimates the thief got away with between seven and eight-hundred dollars.

The Salvation Army made that estimate by comparing it what day it happened, and the amount of people coming in and out of the store.

We called the Lowe's Foods in Burlington, and they said they wish they could help, but unfortunately their cameras weren't able to capture any footage of the incident.

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