Abilene bell-ringer accused of stealing donations arrested after Salvation Army sting

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Abilene's Salvation Army wants to stress there is "nothing for donors to be worried about" after a bell ringer accused of stealing donations was arrested Wednesday afternoon.

Tyneka Porter, 41, was taken into custody at her ringing station around 4:00 p.m. and charged with Theft of Property (Enhanced) and Possession of Marijuana. She's being held in jail on bonds totaling over $4,000. 

Salvation Army representative Shelley Futrelle told KTAB and KRBC they received a call from the manager of Walgreens on Buffalo Gap Road, reporting Porter had been spotted in the bathroom trying to remove money from her red kettle. 

Futrelle says her bosses then used binoculars to watch Porter take money left sticking half-way out of her kettle. A police report states the $5.25 she was observed stealing was later recovered.

The Salvation Army takes claims like this "incredibly serious" because, as Futrelle explains, "that money is so important. It goes for the whole year to provide clients with food and housing and you name it."

She wants to assure donors that the Salvation Army is "hyper-aware" when it comes to theft allegations, and this is the first case they've even had to deal with in the past 4 years. 

3-year bell-ringing veteran Brandon Campsey says it's "ridiculous" that anyone would think of stealing from the Salvation Army because "this money goes to help out so many people."

Campsey doesn't want Porter to give Abilene's bell-ringers a bad name and that "everyone once in awhile we get a bad apple, but it's very rare."

Campsey told KTAB and KRBC that he, like so many of his fellow bell-ringers, loves his job because "it gives you an awesome feeling knowing you're out there helping people. It almost feels like godliness, like you're doing something for God rather than just doing it for nothing."


Tune in to KTAB News at 6PM to hear more about the Salvation Army's quick response to the allegations against Porter and how they're moving forward in the aftermath of her arrest. 



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