Post Falls Police looking for Salvation Army kettle thief

Post Falls police are looking for a man who they say went on a wild crime spree involving a stolen motor home, two stolen cars, and a Salvation Army Red Kettle. It all started Tuesday afternoon at around 3:30.

The man, described as 20-23 years old with light colored hair and a slender build is thought to have stolen a silver Hyundai Elantra before pulling up to the Super One at 805 E. Polston. Police say he slowed down and grabbed a Salvation Army Kettle while still driving. According to officers, a bystander and a Salvation Army employee tried to stop the man, even putting him in a choke hold, but he was able to drive away.

He didn't go far, according to officers. They believe the man actually drove back to the car dealership where he originally stole the Elantra, and dropped it off! Employees recognized him and grabbed him, but once again he was able to get away.

He was next spotted by officers at St. Vincent dePaul stealing clothes from a donation tent. When he saw the officers he took off running again, dropping the Salvation Army Red Kettle in the process.

Police searched for the man for about an hour in the Treaty Rock Park area. They didn't find him, but they did find a stolen motor home they believe he'd been living in. The motor home had been stolen from Spokane earlier in the week.

After the search for the man ended, police received yet another stolen vehicle report, this time at the White House Grill in Post Falls. An employee there said someone matching the earlier suspect's description stole a Jeep Cherokee.

That vehicle is described as a 1992 black Jeep Cherokee with Idaho license plate number K468-250. The Jeep has a three-inch lift with custom front and back bumpers, large mud flaps and a sticker on the back that says "Come to the dark side." Post Falls police ask anyone with information to call them at 208-773-3517.

This is the second theft of a Salvation Army Red Kettle in the region in the last week. One Saturday, Nov. 29, a red kettle was stolen from the Rosauers on Spokane's South Hill. Post Falls police say they are looking into a possible connection.

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