SANFORD, Maine — When Lt. Railene Griffin and Capt. Erin Smullen left the Salvation Army on Main Street on Christmas Eve, they felt relieved and accomplished.
Earlier this season, they had set a goal of raising $45,000 through the Salvation Army’s annual red-kettle campaign. They reached that goal, thanks to the donations from customers who dropped coins and dollars into those kettles at Walmart, Shaw’s and Marden’s throughout the holiday season.
In fact, they surpassed that goal and raised a bit north of $46,000. This is money the Salvation Army will use to help people in Sanford, Springvale, Shapleigh, Acton, Lyman, Alfred and Waterboro with their rent, utility bills, and groceries in the coming year.
On Christmas Eve, Griffin and Smullen placed that day’s kettle-haul – $1,700 – in their safe, locked up the Salvation Army building, and headed home for the holiday. It was that day’s total that put them over the top of their goal of $45,000.
And by the time Smullen reported to work on the day after Christmas, it was gone.
Over the holiday, someone had forced entry into the Salvation Army, had broken into the safe, and had stolen that Christmas Eve sum.