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woodman's west

A Salvation Army bell ringer at Woodman's West supermarket allegedly stole the donation kettle Tuesday afternoon, but was arrested a short time later.

A man ringing a bell to get donations for the Salvation Army kettle at Woodman's West was arrested Tuesday for allegedly stealing the kettle.

Kemple Garrett Sr., 57, Madison, also allegedly pocketed some of the money intended for the kettle, Madison police said.

Police were called at about 1 p.m. after Garrett allegedly left the bell-ringing post at Woodman's, 725 S. Gammon Road, taking the kettle with him.

Police found Garrett at the Metro Transit bus transfer point on the West Side.

"He claimed he was taking the kettle back to the Salvation Army, but an employee for the charitable organization said protocol would be for the kettle to stay at the ringer's location," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

"In addition, the employee said the bell ringer should not have been able to sign out the kettle, as he had just been fired for failure to show up on time."

Surveillance video at Woodman's showed Garrett allegedly pocketing money given by contributors that should have been put into the red kettle.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.