Salvation Army receives donations and pledges totaling $35,000 following burglary

December 4, 2013
The aftermath of the weekend break-in at a Salvation Army facility in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy of Salvation Army)
The aftermath of the weekend break-in at a Salvation Army facility in Southeast D.C. (Salvation Army)

A break-in over the weekend cost the Salvation Army $10,000. But after news of the burglary spread, the Washington area charity quickly received gifts and pledges adding up to more than three times that amount.

The Salvation Army’s office in Anacostia was broken into Sunday, with about $10,000 taken from a safe and 11 of the familiar red kettles (which were pried open with a crowbar, my colleague Peter Hermann reports).

That was money meant for needy people who need help paying for Christmas presents, rent, food and heating bills.

Once word got out about the theft, donors with deep pockets contacted the charity, according to Maj. Lewis Reckline, commander of the Washington area Salvation Army (which covers the District, Northern Virginia and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties).

An attorney in D.C. donated a check for $10,000. The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, a Northern Virginia-based organization, also gave $10,000 for the red kettle campaign.

The attorney who made the donation is Tom Goldstein, a partner at the D.C. law firm Goldstein and Russell and the co-founder and publisher of SCOTUSblog. Goldstein said he saw the news about the burglary when he visited The Post’s site on Sunday during a break in his preparations to argue in front of the Supreme Court the following day.

“I didn’t want them to have to worry about what would happen over the course of the week and into the weekend,” Goldstein said.

He wanted to make the donation because it “would genuinely be helpful to somebody,” Goldstein said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “And that’s all you can ask for, is to find out people are in need and do some small thing to help them.”

Goldstein said he initially wanted to deliver the check himself, but couldn’t do it on Monday morning since he was set to make his 31st appearance in front of the court. So it was sent over to the Salvation Army’s office, “probably while I was in the court,” he said.

“People are just amazed at what happened to a charity like ours,” said Reckline, who spent a decade as a police officer in his native Baltimore. “People … are very, very outraged that someone would have the scruples to do something like that.”

Wal-Mart contacted the Salvation Army on Monday and has pledged to donate $15,000. That money will go toward the Angel Tree program, Reckline said, which matches donors with children from families who can’t buy gifts or clothing during the holidays.

Police said there have been no arrests made in the burglary, which also saw two computers, two cameras and $700 in bus tokens taken from a nonprofit agency called So Others Might Eat. A spokeswoman for that agency said at least one donor said they made a donation after reading about the break-in.

Authorities released this video showing two people sought in connection with the burglary:

This story has been updated to identify Goldstein and add his comments. 

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · December 4, 2013