A Michigan man has been charged with larceny, following a Salvation Army theft which occurred on the afternoon of December 11 in Farmington Hills, an Oakland County city located northwest of Detroit.
29-year old Eric Joseph Heineman, a resident of Redford Township, is alleged to have taken a red kettle filled with donations intended for the Salvation Army.
A bell ringer had been in charge with the charitable organization’s stand, which had been placed right next to Walgreens drugstore, located on Grand River Avenue, near 8 Mile Road.
That volunteer was the one who was responsible with keeping a close eye on the donation box, but was forced to leave the spot for a short while, in order to enter the shop.
That’s when Heineman allegedly took advantage of the situation, pilfering the red kettle together with its stand, and fleeing the scene. He discarded the small Christmas kettle at another location on Grand River Avenue, after having taken all of the money, whose total value has remained unknown.
Following the incident, representatives of the Farmington Hills Police Department announced that they would raise funds at their own quarters, so as to compensate the Salvation Army for the donations it had been deprived of.
Eventually, $248 were collected, and an additional $300 was donated by an anonymous philanthropist, raising the sum to a grand total of $548.
Police have also urged anyone with information pertaining to the theft to alert them immediately, revealing that witnesses had described the burglar as being a 6 foot tall Caucasian male, approximately 20 years old and of slim build.
Thanks to extensive media coverage, a person who was familiar with the incident soon contacted law enforcement, and accused Heineman of having been the mysterious culprit.
Eventually, the suspect was apprehended by law enforcement on Saturday, at another store from Grand River Avenue, close to where the burglary was committed.
He was charged with petty larceny (a misdemeanor) given the fact that the amount of money that was stolen was estimated to have been of less than $200.
Moreover, he was also accused of a felony, consisting in heroin possession without a valid prescription, and was taken into custody.
Heineman’s arraignment took place on Sunday, December 13, and was conducted by Michael Sawicky, a magistrate from the 47th District court.
The defendant’s temporary release from prison is dependent on him posting a cash bond amounting to $5,500, and court proceedings initiated against him will continue on Wednesday, December 16, starting from 8:30 a.m.
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