A former Salvation Army bell ringer who says she is homeless has been arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of dollars from donation kettles in Madison. Patricia R. Whitfield, 39, was booked into the Dane County Jail tentatively on multiple counts of theft by fraud on Thursday.
Madison police say they received multiple tips following publicity about the three kettle thefts that started last week around the city. Police spokesman Joel DeSpain says Whitfield told detective she is homeless and sorry for what she did. He says Whitfield had been a bell ringer in Chicago and recently stayed at the Madison Salvation Army shelter.
Whitfield was arrested Thursday morning at the Rodeway Inn on Broadway Avenue. Also on Thursday a Madison man said he was donating $500 to the Salvation Army to replace what was stolen.