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Kettle theft inspires donation

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 06. 2012 10:44PM

MANCHESTER - Twelve hours after a thief snatched a Salvation Army kettle from outside a city store, an anonymous donor showed up, cash in hand.

The Concord man gave Salvation Army Lt. Miriam Rader three $100 dollar bills to replace the money stolen from outside the Hobby Lobby Store off South Willow Street Tuesday night.

"I think it is a far more powerful statement than the one that was made the other night," said Lt. Herb Rader. "That was some crazy kid; this is the true sentiment of people. That they want to help people in need outshines the evil that is out there."

The benefactor also handed Rader $40 for the kettle, and a $20 bill to buy lunch for Nicole Tierney, the bell-ringer who was victimized.

Tierney was shocked by the theft Tuesday evening, and cried as she ran into the store to ask a manager to call police.

Wednesday morning, as Miriam Rader was preparing pastries donated by Panera Bread to serve to bell-ringers, the mysterious man from Concord stopped by.

"He was able to step in and so he felt that good was going to win out," Herb Rader said. "He showed that the guy who runs away with the money wasn't going to be the end of the story."

The thief who stole the kettle took off on a mountain bike. Police said he apparently headed for the woods behind the Toys R Us store and through the woods to the rail trail bicycle path that goes under I-293.

The stolen kettle was found on Gold Street. It was empty.

Police said they're looking for a man described as about 6 feet 2 inches and of thin build. At the time of the theft, he was wearing blue jeans, a black jacket and had a blue covering over his face.

Tierney was back at the Hobby Lobby on Thursday night.

Hefting the kettle, she pronounced it "heavy" and said people who had heard about the robbery were very generous with donations.

"It's good that the man donated," she said. "There are people that need the money."

But for Tierney, it wasn't quite the same. She stepped inside the Hobby Lobby for a time Thursday night.

It was a respite from 10 hours in the bracing cold ringing her bell and thanking people for their donations. The chill wind was just one reason for stepping inside.

"There were some teenagers standing there and looking at me," she said. "It made me nervous."

The Raders said the Concord man's generosity won't be forgotten.

"He really wanted to make sure no one would suffer," Herb Rader said.

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Bill Smith may be reached at

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