Real-Life Grinches Caught After Stealing Salvation Army Kettle

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Police in McDonald have identified, and charged a couple in connection with last Friday’s theft of a Salvation Army money collection canister.

It was on the counter at TJ Deli on Lincoln Avenue in the small Washington County borough.

Facing theft, conspiracy and receiving stolen property charges, are 30-year-old Joshua Basinger, of Aliquippa, and 21-year-old Rachel Pecharka of Robinson Township.

Police say it was Basinger and Pecharka who boldly stole the Salvation Army collection bucket last Friday from a counter at TJ’s Deli Mart in McDonald.

“They have been at the store in the past,” said McDonald Police Officer Michael Dhanse. “They stated the money in the canister was there and they went to obtain that. They parked around the corner to hide their vehicle, so if someone saw them, they couldn’t stop them.”

It was social media that helped police learn the suspect’s identity.

McDonald Police posted surveillance photos of the theft on their Facebook page and on TV newscasts as well.

“We actually received a couple of names from the public, stating the name of the couple involved,” said Dhanse. “So we looked and found that we had them in our data base and we were able to identify them and locate their residence.”

Police say the suspects threw the kettle in a dumpster.

Why would anyone stoop so low as to steal a Salvation Army collection kettle in the first place?

“They did feel bad about doing this,” Dhanse said. “They had been addicts of heroin lately, so they did this to get money for their fix. They state they thought about this for a while and they went to TJs so they could get drugs.”

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