by Phil Prazan
Police are on the lookout for a thief.
Their target of choice is a source of hope for many this holiday season, Salvation Army Red Kettles.
It's happened twice so far. The Salvation Army in Des Moines says they thought the first one was a fluke, but now they're taking these thefts more seriously.
This is the first time in recent years they've had to deal with this problem.
Last week the first Red Kettle was stolen at the Hy-Vee store at S.E. 14th and Park in Des Moines.
That happened over night after the collection time at 8 PM. So that one didn't have any money in it.
But it happened again Friday at the Walmart Supercenter on Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines.
This second one was stolen before the pick up time.
That means the thief came up during store hours and walked away with the 50 lbs, 6 foot tall Red Kettle Stand.
Each stolen stand costs salvation army $300 to replace.
So Arvid Huisman from Salvation Army regrets that the $600 for the two stands plus possibly 2,3 or $400 of donations with the second can't go to the many charity programs.
"Infant center provides diapers and formula and car seats; it could have gone there. We have housing assistance and utility assistance; it could have gone there. We have a youth basketball program; it might have gone there. There's so many different things we do, we don't know yet where it might have gone," says Huisman.
The Salvation Army is asking anyone to come forward if they saw anyone around 6 to 8 PM with the Red Kettle at the Walmart Supercenter in West Des Moines.
They ask that you contact West Des Moines Police.