Deputies investigating after blind Salvation Army bell ringer targeted

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Sheriff deputies are investigating after a blind Salvation Army bell ringer was targeted at a local Walmart store.

According to investigators, suspects stole the red kettle from the blind bell ringer at the store on West FM 1960 on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with the bell ringer, Hunter Mouton.

"It sucks on two levels," Mouton said. "The fact they would take away money from people who truly need it, and the other reason is because the person who would even think about stealing from a blind individual, that's pretty low."

Deputies said the ringer reported he went into the store's restroom and took the kettle with him.

While in the bathroom, deputies said the kettle was stolen.

"When I went down to retrieve it, it wasn't there," Mouton said.

Deputies are reviewing store security video to identify a suspect.

The Salvation Army believes $300 was in the stolen bucket.

"You're obviously on hard times so I hope it was worth it," Mouton said.

No arrests have been made at this time.

The theft couldn't have come at a worst time for the Salvation Army of Greater Houston.

The agency said its red kettle donations are way down this year.

Right now, the Salvation Army is $412,000 short of its $1.2 million goal.

It's also down $270,000 from this time last year.

"It really breaks your heart when you're down because you know what happens in you can't meet the needs that you need to," Salvation Army Captain Jay Ward said.

The Salvation Army's red kettle drive ends Saturday.

If you're interested in making a donation, click here.

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