Man turns himself in after theft from blind Salvation Army bell ringer

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A former employee with the Salvation Army has turned himself in to police after he was allegedly caught on video stealing from the charity.

Harris County deputies say Niles Donovan Williams was caught on camera walking away with a bucket while he was in his Salvation Army uniform.

The organization says he was an employee at the time, but was not supposed to be walking away with the kettle.

The bucket belonged to another employee.

A blind bell ringer had the kettle stolen while he used the bathroom.

The incident happened at the West FM 1960 Walmart, just days before Christmas.

Once the Salvation Army said Williams was charged with theft, he was terminated. But he still wasn't in police custody, until ABC13 aired the video on Wednesday.

According to Harris County authorities, Williams turned himself in to Jersey Village Police on Wednesday night.
"Out of the thousands, and thousands and thousands of bell ringers that were hired nationwide this season, this is just one incident and as soon as it happened we immediately called police," Salvation Army Captain Jay Ward said.

The Salvation Army does background checks on the seasonable employees it hires.

Prior to this incident, Williams was charged with burglary of a vehicle.

A crime that the Salvation Army said may not have excluded him from the job.

"I know that a lot of times the Salvation Army does give second chances to those individuals who had a rough past because if you can't get a second chance at the Salvation Army, where will you get a second chance," Ward said.

Although the red kettle campaign has ended, the Salvation Army is still collecting donations to help close its funding gap.

If you're interested in donating, click here.

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