After $10,000 theft, Salvation Army receives donations, pledges totaling $35,000

D.C. police released this video in their search for two people sought in connection with a burglary at a Salvation Army facility in Southeast Washington. (D.C. Police)
December 4, 2013

A break-in at the Salvation Army’s Anacostia office over Thanksgiving weekend left the charity out an estimated $10,000 collected by bell ringers working throughout the Washington region. But after news of the burglary spread, the organization quickly received gifts and pledges totaling more than three times that amount.

Tom Goldstein, a lawyer in the District and publisher of the popular SCOTUSblog, wrote a check for $10,000. The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, an organization based in Northern Virginia, also gave $10,000 for the Red Kettle Campaign, said Maj. Lewis Reckline, commander of the Washington area Salvation Army, which covers the District, Northern Virginia, and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

“People are just amazed at what happened to a charity like ours,” said Reckline, a former police officer in Baltimore. “People . . . are very, very outraged that someone would . . . do something like that.”

The stolen money, meant for those who need help paying for Christmas presents, rent, food and heating bills, was taken from a safe and 11 of the familiar red kettles used to collect donations.

Goldstein said he learned of the burglary Sunday while preparing to argue before the Supreme Court on Monday morning.


The aftermath of a break-in to a Salvation Army facility in Southeast D.C. over the weekend. The theft occurred at 2300 Martin Luther King Ave. SE. (Courtesy of Salvation Army)

He decided then that he wanted to make the donation, believing that it “would genuinely be helpful to somebody.”

“And that’s all you can ask for. . . to find out people are in need and do some small thing to help them,” he said.

Goldstein said he wanted to deliver the check himself, but there was that whole appearance before the justices — his 31st. So he had the check delivered to the Salvation Army’s office, “probably while I was in the court,” Goldstein said.

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

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

Police said there have been no arrests in the burglary, which also hit the nonprofit group So Others Might Eat. It lost two computers, two cameras and $700 in bus tokens.

A spokeswoman for that charity said that at least one person said a donation was made after a news report about the break-in.

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