GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Police say a Salvation Army bell ringer in Mississippi who claimed a man ran off with her kettle of cash just as she was finishing her shift has been arrested for lying.
Police Chief Leonard Papania said in a news release Wednesday that 23-year-old Michelle Shantel Pope was arrested Tuesday and charged with petit larceny and false reporting of a crime.
Pope initially reported the theft on Dec. 9. She told police a man approached her, pushed her and stole the kettle containing an unknown amount of money.
Papania says the follow-up investigation revealed Pope had helped orchestrate the scheme. Police are still looking for the man who ran away with the kettle.
Salvation Army officials say bell-ringers on average collect about $150 to $300 in donations a day.