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Maplewood Police investigate another theft of Salvation Army kettle

For at least the fifth time this month, police are investigating a Salvation Army kettle theft in the Twin Cities

For at least the fifth time this month, police in the Twin Cities are investigating the reported theft of a Salvation Army kettle from a business.

The latest incident happened early Christmas morning in Maplewood at Borchert's Meat Market, a family-owned shop located just south of Highway 36. 

Dave Borchert, one of the co-owners of the market, said his alarm company notified him of a break-in around 1 a.m. Tuesday, just as his family's Christmas Eve festivities were ending. He immediately drove to his store to assess the damage.

"When I got on scene to the store, there were squads and a K-9," Borchert said, "and a big hole in the front door."

The store's surveillance system caught the theft on camera. The video shows a man repeatedly throwing a concrete block at the door until he finally makes his way through, at which point he rushes over to the front counter and uses a tool to snip the kettle off its wiring.

Maplewood Police say they are reviewing the security footage as a part of the investigation, but they have not made any arrests or formally identified any suspects yet.

"You think of how the grinch stole Christmas? This is probably 20 times worse than that," Borchert said. "Such a pit in your gut. I don't think words can describe that."

Borchert said the kettle contained at least a few hundred dollars. He is almost certain that the suspect was in the store earlier and noticed the kettle full of money.

"It's a shame. It really is," Borchert said. "It's not fair to the people who really genuinely need the help."

This is becoming a familiar situation in the Twin Cities. 

Just 10 days ago, Maplewood Police investigated a kettle theft at a Pizza Ranch just four miles away. Meanwhile, in Blaine, a brother and sister were charged with a felony last week after police said they stole a kettle from Cub Foods. In Rogers, police are eyeing a suspect they say could be involved in two kettle thefts, both in Rogers and Brooklyn Park.

"There's been quite of a few of them this season," Borchert said.

Even Borchert's went through this same headache two years ago, when someone stole one of their kettles during the holiday season. Determined not to let that happen again, the store started bolting the kettles to the front counter so people couldn't carry them out of the store. 

But that still wasn't enough to stop the suspect from swiping the kettle this Christmas.

"It hurts. It really does," Borchert said. "Not just the physical damage to the building, but the charitable damage to the community."

At least the store was able to fix its front door quickly. By Wednesday morning, the glass door had been fully replaced— at a cost of $400. 

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