Skip to comments.Manatee robber takes kettle from blind bell ringer (lower than low)
Posted on 11/25/2004 9:14:29 AM PST by dukeman
MANATEE COUNTY (Fla.) -- For a decade, Donna Scott's blindness has not deterred her from collecting donations for the Salvation Army each Christmas season. The reliable bell ringer who plays a keyboard to attract donations believes wholeheartedly in helping the less fortunate.
Yet this week, a petty thief took advantage of Scott's lack of sight and her charitable heart. Knowing she couldn't identify him, the thief snatched Scott's donation kettle outside a busy Bradenton shopping plaza and casually walked away.
"It's a sad thing at Christmas time that somebody would take money from the Salvation Army," said Lt. Col. William Bamford, coordinator of the church's Yuletide donations drive in Manatee. "He's taking food out of the mouths of people who are hungry and depriving children of Christmas gifts."
On Tuesday, Scott, 54, was at her usual post outside the Publix supermarket in Bradenton's Cortez Plaza. A Michigan native who has been blind since birth, Scott has helped raise money for the Salvation Army in Manatee for at least eight years.
An agency that assists the visually impaired united her with the church's Christmas fund-raising drive a decade ago, when Scott lived in Brooksville. She's been a dedicated helper ever since.
Scott is a seasonal fixture outside the Cortez Plaza Publix. Grocery shoppers hear her ring the customary Salvation Army bell but also sing and play Christmas songs on an electronic keyboard.
"Silver bells, silver bells," Scott croons as she taps a foot and lets her fingers dance along the keys. "It's Christmas time in the city."
She's there most days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., raising roughly $125 to $150 a day.
At about 3:40 p.m. Tuesday, the thief approached her.
"The guy tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'I'm a supervisor for the Salvation Army. I came to see if everything's OK,'" Scott said. "He said he was checking things out and asked me to play my music."
The man offered her some peanut butter candy. Scott refused it. She was suspicious but resumed singing.
A moment later, someone who wanted to make a donation asked Scott what happened to her kettle, which was supposed to be hanging from a tripod just inches away.
The imposter who claimed to be from the Salvation Army was gone, as was the red kettle that probably had more than $100 in it.
"I didn't hear the kettle being moved," Scott said.
A bystander told sheriff's deputies he saw the man put the kettle into a brown box and calmly walk away, as if he were someone assigned to retrieve kettles for the Salvation Army. The culprit walked east along the shopping plaza's sidewalk and never returned.
The thief was described as a white man in his 30s, about six feet tall and wearing blue jeans and a white shirt.
"Donna was very upset, of course," Major Jack Repass of the Salvation Army said. "We were saddened by it. But we were glad she wasn't harmed."
"We told her, 'No, no, don't allow this incident to damage your spirit,'" Bamford said.
So, undaunted, Scott returned to her bell ringing station Wednesday. She remains as convinced as ever that most people are givers, not takers. She won't let one bad experience keep her from the volunteer work she loves.
Nothing about her routine has changed, except for one slight modification.
Her kettle is now padlocked to its tripod stand.
Here's hoping the thief has a change of heart, and realizes before it's too late just how expensive that little pot full of coins can be.
Dude, that's cold.
Looks just about right!
Maybe he works for Target!
Oh the huge manatee!
Sorry, but I doubt it. Here's hoping that this lowest of the low spends a lifetime at the bottom of the barrel.
Holiday shopping at Target? Not a chance in hell that they'll ever see a single copper from me!
It's hard to think of anything lower than stealing from a blind bell ringer. Stealing toys from orphans, perhaps?
Lowest of the low.
We have a winner!
Thank yew. Thank yew. I'll be here all week. Try the veal...
"Maybe he works for Target!"
I thought the same thing. (sarcasm)
Five will get you ten he voted Democrat.
This is the kind of crime that gets you killed by a mob.
"Five will get you ten he voted Democrat."
He probably was from the DNC, the Democrat Nazi Committee.
He'll earn every penny he stole.
No one can stop the manatee!
I rang bells for the Salvation Army in the Bronx in 1977. We started the day with our kettles chained to the lamposts.
Actually, that's really weird, because the neighborhood is pretty good. Perhaps it was a manatee...