Santa Hat Part of Sentence for Red Kettle Thief

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Credit: Lake County Sheriff

(A surveillance picture showed a man accused of posing as a Salvation Army bell ringer in order to steal donations. Courtesy: Lake County Sheriff's Office)

(A surveillance picture of the Salvation Army kettle theft. Courtesy: Lake County Sheriff’s Office)

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — A man who admitted to stealing a Salvation Army kettle must complete several hours of community service — while wearing a Santa hat.

Jeffrey Gregg was accused of entering a Giant Eagle on Mentor Avenue on Dec. 21, posing as a Salvation Army bell-ringer. Police said he convinced a volunteer that he was their relief.

Police said he then stole the donations by grabbing the pot of money and leaving the store.

After finding a car matching Gregg’s a few weeks later, Gregg admitted to stealing the kettle.

In Painesville Municipal Court Thursday, Gregg was sentenced to 170 days in jail, which can be avoided with 200 hours of community service with a food kitchen and 200 hours of community service in the court’s garden.

He was also ordered to wear a Santa hat during all his community service, according to court records.

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