Bell Ringer Charged With Stealing Kettle

He's accused of stealing a Salvation Army kettle, full of Christmas donations.

But a Lexington man claims he only did it to get off the streets.

24-year-old Terry Gordon spent an entire day as a bell ringer. But when it came time to turn in the donations he had collected, police say Gordon disappeared with the kettle in hand.

He's now in jail, where he talked to 27 NEWSFIRST this afternoon.

Gordon says that he stole the kettle so that he and his girlfriend would have a warm bed and a hot meal for the night.

Gordon says he's been living on the street for the past couple weeks and was previously kicked out of a homeless shelter after admittedly stabbing a man. Now he says he regrets his actions, but feels they are justified.

He went to the Salvation Army for help, became a volunteer bell ringer, and decided to walk away with the $127 collected in the kettle.

He says he spent the night at the Carlise Motel and got a dinner next door at Hardees. Gordon was later caught by police at the library. Putting an end to his crime, but leaving a lasting impression on the Lexington community.

Major Debra Ashcraft of the Salvation Army says the action of one man has an affect on the entire Salvation Army, now it must work to rebuild the broken trust.

As for Gordon, he says he regrets taking the kettle.

The Salvation Army says the Kettle Campaign is the single biggest fundraiser for the organization during the holiday season, and say it's vital to providing services to the needy.

AP Story

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Police in Lexington say a Salvation Army red kettle worker's motives didn't ring true.

Authorities arrested Terry Gordon and say the bell ringer swiped the kettle.

The Salvation Army says when police confronted him, Gordon led them to the kettle. It isn't clear whether the change donated by shoppers was still in it.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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