- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Gulfport police say a Salvation Army bell ringer who reported a man ran off with her kettle of cash just as she was finishing her shift has been arrested for lying about the incident.

Police Chief Leonard Papania says in a news release that 23-year-old Michelle Shantel Pope was arrested Tuesday and charged with petit larceny and false reporting of a crime.

Pope initially reported the theft on Dec. 9. She told police an unknown black male approached her, pushed her and stole the kettle containing an unknown amount of money.

Papania says the follow-up investigation revealed Pope had helped orchestrate the scheme. Police are still looking for the man who ran away with the kettle.

Salvation Army officials say a normal bell-ringer gathers $150 to $300 in donations.

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