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Caught on camera: Thieves target Salvation Army donations

Burglars in Jackson, Miss. were caught on camera stealing donations from the Salvation Army, but no one has been charged.
Burglars in Jackson, Miss. were caught on camera stealing donations from the Salvation Army, but no one has been charged.Seth Wenig / AP

Salvation Army officials in Jackson, Miss. said people are repeatedly stealing from the organization. The numerous thefts have been caught on camera, but so far no one is being held accountable.

"Some people will take their children, open these doors, put them in there and have their children pull things out," said Capt. Ken Chapman, of the Salvation Army.

Chapman said thieves are stealing donations out of the after-hours drop-off bin. He said some of the people may think the donations are public property once they've been dropped off. But Chapman said they've got that completely wrong.

"These things are donated to the Salvation Army for Salvation Army use. They are literally stealing," Chapman said.

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A number of surveillance cameras monitor activity around-the-clock on the property. Salvation Army officials can see exactly who is stealing the donations.

"Cars back up; trucks back up, they load up, they go off and they steal," Chapman said.

Some workers who monitor the cameras after hours said they've even confronted the thieves over a loudspeaker, but it doesn't seem to faze them.

"They'll say, 'You realize you're stealing and you need to put that back?' People will just look at it and (shrug)," Chapman said.

Chapman said he even had to confront one woman in person.

"I stopped her and I said, 'Do you realize you're stealing?' Well, she made me the bad guy. She started cussing me out," Chapman said.

Chapman said he's already gone to the police with the video evidence and even license plate numbers, but he said as of early this week, the Jackson Police Department hadn't given much help.

"The police are basically saying to us, 'Sorry. There's nothing we can do about it unless you catch them red-handed.' Well, my point is, this video does catch them red-handed. It doesn't lie and here's the tag number," Chapman said.

Watch the video at

When 16 WAPT's Keegan Foxx asked JPD officials about it, they told her that there's no record of a report being filed about the donation bin thefts at the Salvation Army.

After the story aired on 16 WAPT News, JPD contacted the Salvation Army and was working on the case Friday, a spokeswoman for the charity said.

Chapman wants the public to know that the donations are not public property and stealing them takes away resources from those who really need them — especially during the holidays.

"They're taking money, really, from the Lord. Because the Salvation Army is a faith-based organization," Chapman said.

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