BLAINE, Minnesota — A brother and sister from western Wisconsin is now charged in the theft of a Salvation Army red kettle, a crime that seemingly kicked off a rash of similar crimes.
Travis Harley Johnson. age 30, and his 24-year-old sister Amanda are charged with theft and possession of burglary or theft tools in connection with the December 4 incident at the Northtown Cub Foods in Blaine.
Surveillance cameras looked on that day as two people approached the kettle. Prosecutors say Amanda Johnson used a bolt cutter to remove the handle from the kettle while Travis grabbed the bucket containing money. The two ran to a Chevy Trailblazer and sped off.
A customer witnessed what happened and followed the SUV down Highway 10 until one of the people inside threw the kettle out the window.
Blaine investigators were able to identify the suspects and track them down in New Richmond, Wis. During questioning detectives say the Johnsons admitted they stole the kettle, saying it contained just two dollar bills and a few coins.
Neither of the suspects is currently in custody. A court date for their first appearance is being set.