'Tis the season for giving, but police have arrested a Salvation Army worker accused of stealing donations from a Connecticut supermarket.
Brandon Martin, a 28-year-old homeless man who was working for the charity, is accused of stealing Salvation Army donations customers were making at the Stop and Shop supermarket at 50 Windsorville Road in Vernon Thursday.
One of the store managers called police at 11:47 a.m. and reported that Martin took a Salvation Army collection from in front of the store and stole a sandwich, a bag of chips and a drink from the supermarket.
When police apprehended Martin, he had the Salvation Army collection bucket. He was working as a Salvation Army volunteer at the time, Vernon police said.
The manager confiscated the bucket and locked it in the store’s cash room for safekeeping, contacted Salvation Army management to let them know what happened and asked that they pick up the collection bucket.
While the manager was on the phone with Salvation Army, Martin found another store employee and convinced that person to return him the bucket, police said.
Martin still had a Salvation Army uniform and a bell, and the employee did not know what had transpired, so the person gave Martin the bucket, police said.
With bucket in hand, Martin ran from the store and police caught up to him on Berger Road, a short distance from the store, police said.
In addition to the locked collection bucket, Martin had $16 that police believe was meant to go in the donation bucket.
Martin allegedly had one $5 bill and 15 $1 bills that were each folded up individually. Police said this was donation money that customers had handed Martin, who put the money in his pocket rather than the bucket.
When officers confronted Martin, he admitted to trying to steal the money, police said.
Officials from the Salvation Army said Martin has been fires.
"I really do think this was an individual incident and by in large, the people that are out working for the Salvation Army collecting money for the needy are doing a great job," Detective James Grady, of the Vernon Police Department, said.
Martin was charged with larceny in the sixth degree. He is being held in lieu of a $500 bond and is due in Rockville Superior Court Friday.
Police returned all of the money and the donation bucket to the Salvation Army.