ST. LOUIS (KMOX/AP) updated Friday at 7:45 a.m.- Police are investigating the thefts of three Salvation Army fundraising Christmas kettles in the St. Louis area.

Authorities say the thefts occurred in a period of just more than a week, all at Schnucks stores. The crimes happened either between bell ringer shifts or when the ringers were on break.

Two of the crimes happened Nov. 22, one in Affton and one in Ladue. The most recent kettle theft was in south St. Louis on Wednesday.

No one knows how much money was taken but donations into the kettle can sometimes reach as much as $1,000 per day.

KMOX’s previous reporting:

This has all of the hallmarks of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

The Salvation Army’s Lieutenant Colonel Dan Jennings says there has been recent thefts of their donation kettles at three different bell ringing locations.

“That’s exactly what I would call it – a Grinch,” Jennings says. “To steal from the Salvation Army…not just the Salvation Army that you’re stealing from, but imagine this, you’re stealing from some of the poorest people in our community.”

Two happened in South County and Ladue, and the third was in the city at Hampton and Arsenal. Jennings says in all three cases, the Grinch not only stole the kettles – but the stands too.

The amount that was stolen can not be determined, because they usually count the kettles at the end of the evening.

Investigations are underway, it’s unknown if there is video of the thefts.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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