Kettle Bell Ringer Charged in Theft - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Kettle Bell Ringer Charged in Theft

Posted: Updated: Dec 23, 2010 12:13 PM EST

The plot thickens in the case of a stolen Salvation Army kettle and the assault of the bell ringer that occurred outside Sam's Club on Nov. 30. Albemarle County police say four people were in on the job to steal money from a Salvation Army kettle, including 43-year-old Lawrence Egnor, the bell ringer himself.

Police say the pieces of the puzzle came together Wednesday.

"Officer Conner saw what he thought was the suspect vehicle," stated Sgt. Darrell Byers of the Albemarle County Police Department. "Had a consensual encounter with the driver of that vehicle."

After that encounter, police made the arrests. Investigators say 52-year-old Emory Sliger is the man seen numerous times in the Sam's Club surveillance video making off with the kettle; 44-year-old James Shifflett and 46-year-old Rhonda Johnson were in the getaway car.

Sliger has been charged with misdemeanor larceny and  Shifflett with felony larceny. Egnor's embezzlement of less than $200 and false reporting charges are both misdemeanors.

While police will not say what the connection is between the four, they say the motivation was easy cash. Head of the Charlottesville Salvation Army, Major Allen Johnson, was upset that a bell ringer could have been in on the job, especially after they helped Egnor in the days following the attack.

"Quite a bit of disbelief that he was involved," said Johnson. "When we found out he was injured, when it happened, we tried to make sure things were covered from that point to make sure he wasn't stuck with bills."

Now, Johnson has to fill a vacant bell ringer spot because Egnor had been ringing up until his arrest. 

"Those donations are so important to the operation of what we do here in the community," he said.

The three men involved are being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail on secure bonds. Rhonda Johnson was released on a summons.

Reported by Henry Graff
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