Bell-ringer arrested on warrant outside Norwalk drug store

Deputy confiscates red kettle, its contents, the bell and tripod.
Cary Ashby
Nov 29, 2012


This charity bell-ringer will be celebrating Christmas from the Huron County Jail.

Matthew J. Cox, 29, of 14 Cortland St., was arrested on a child support-related warrant about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday as he was ringing a bell in front of Walgreens, trying to drum up money for a charity. He then was transported to jail to serve a 30-day sentence.

Huron County Sheriff's Deputy Kayla Zander made the arrest after receiving a tip that Cox was at the East League Street business. Cox's warrant was issued Oct. 18.

"She found out he was ringing for a local charity," said Sheriff Dane Howard, who complimented Zander on her professionalism in handling Cox's arrest.

A Walgreens manager who declined to be identified said she didn't know how long Cox had been ringing and didn't know anything about him.

"I've had bell-ringers for a couple weeks," the manager said.

Zander confiscated the red kettle, its contents, the bell and tripod. Howard said his office will hold onto the items until they can be returned to the charity.

"I asked the deputy how she felt about this (arrest). She was very straight-forward. She said she had a job to do and she was there to do it," Howard said.

"She said if she put the charity in a bind, she'd gladly come out and ring the bell," the sheriff added.

Zander is assigned to serving warrants issued through the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA).

"She's assigned to the CSEA program ... and serves warrants on individuals who have failed to pay their child support," Howard said.

"These are (for) chronic abusers of that system -- not just people who have missed some payments. ... This is a very serious matter."

About Wednesday's arrest, Howard said this is an example where deputies can't be influenced by their belief systems. He also said the bell-ringing incident reminds him of an incident years ago when a Richland County-area officer arrested a man dressed as Santa Claus and charged him with driving under the influence.

"Often times deputies are put into difficult situations," the sheriff said.



So let me get this right, the arrest a PAID bell ringer for failing to pay child support and throw him in jail? I'm trying to figure out how pulling someone off their job and putting them in the slammer where they are no longer making an income, and will likely lose their job, is going to help to collect child support? It would seem to me that since all employers have to now verify social security numbers on people that they could track whether someone has a job and garnish the child support. Putting them in jail just ensures that there is no income coming in to garnish.


Salvation Army bell ringers are not paid. You volunteer to sit and ring that bell.


Actually they are paid....not sure where you got your facts but they are might not be a huge pay but it helps when you need it for bills or a kids christmas


I dont looks like hes been feeding himself plenty . You would think he could sacrifice a couple o cheeseburgers for his kiddos.


Really that's all you have to say is about his weight , do you even know this person ? Do you even know if he has health problems due to his weight.Get real here.

Red Robin Hood

This was clearly laziness on the part of the sheriffs office to arrest him while he was volunteering. That deputy gave a good charity a bad image and probably helped them to lose money. They could have arrested him at the charity before he left to the store. I've seen this guy walking all over Norwalk. He wasn't in hiding. It's not like it would have been that hard to find him. Great job deputy for catching a real menace to society.

Lillie Chaos

The deputy was probably just doing the job she was told to do. You do have a point-- he was certainly not in hiding. Might have been for media attention that has backfired.

Raziels Wings

I agree. He is not a criminal at large. The cop should have shown tact and taste. Volunteering is a noble thing .


they're not paid workers. it's volunteer. i've done it before.


not sure where you did but they are paid they must have changed it when you did it...


If they are wanted who cares where they arrest them at. He knew he owed the money glad another loser gets to pay up and what better way in jail.

Raziels Wings

pish posh hog wash


sounds to me like he was volunteering and more than likely pulling out of the pot. Who volunteers their time for something like this when they are a dead beat dad without a job? Why not take that time to LOOK FOR A JOB!.

Raziels Wings

unemployment agency in town says VOLUNTEER !!!!!!! that way you dont get depressed.

Dr. Information

No job and volunteering........winner winner chicken dinner.

Raziels Wings

Right least he was trying to be a good person. Shame on the cops ..anything for the mighty big arrest


I'm glad she got the guy..Good job on that..But I truly think she should have waited until after he finished..I realize she has a job to do..I also think it's great that she's taking it to heart & willing to do it without question..But this charity helps A LOT of people here in Huron County..I hope she really thinks about the money that was lost & makes it right with the charity..What if she, a family member or a friend depended on this charity for help? This is just my opinion..


Why wait?? If i had a suspended license, should a cop let me complete my shipment first, before arresting me? When is a good time to arrest a man with a WARRENT, for you whiners..? Is it the job of our law enforcers to wait for a "better time"? You laugh or get angry. All the IF's in the world, have got to end.

Dr. Information

^I would have to agree truckin. Some of these posters and the constant whining, flip flopping, bashing of our law enforcement, sticking up for these losers does have to stop. Half these posters cannot even spell correctly, yet think they know it all. Funny thing is, they think their opinion on this forum is going to revolutionize law enforcement and the way they conduct business.


looks more like he was ringing the dinner bell.


So when there is a warrant on someone it should be kept till it is a conveinent time for the CRIMINAL? What if it was a child molester? Rapist? Drug dealer? This is the DEADBEAT dads fault, not the Sheriff. The deadbeat brought the shame and loss of funds to the charity NOT the Sheriff doing her job.

Sitting In The ...

Why should the charity lose any of their funds?, because technically if they did take money belonging to someone else isn't that theft?

Yall Make Me Sick

Maybe the charity should check out their volunteers a little better than just letting any Tom dick & Harry around money for Pete sakes!

Raziels Wings

The thing is ..its child support violation. He isnt working ..alot of people arent working . Life is hard. He wasnt out stealing. Fighting or doing drugs,.. He the guy was arrested for trying to be a valuable man. He cant pay support ..thats sad . Think how he to must feel. Maybe thats why he was trying to at least be a valuable man. Doing good. Ide like to meet him, just to shake his hand.


My comment was directed at the other posts that state the charity could lose future funds because of this incident, that the "bad press" could result in less chairty. I meant the Sheriff is not to blame if donations are affected, the DEADBEAT is to blame. I am sure once the incident is dealt with the Sheriff will return the kettle and the $$ in it. I would NOT be suprised if the deadbeat was skimming but that is my personal opinion and probably hard to prove.

Lillie Chaos

The charity probably will lose some bell ringers. No winners here.


no good deed goes unpunished

Sitting In The ...

What a great idea have members of the Huron County Sheriff's Office ring bells for charity on their own time. You might even see it as a way for your deputies to interact with members of the community without having to arrest any of them.

Lillie Chaos

Excellent idea......

Raziels Wings

awesome idea.!!!!!!!!Theyde never do it ..they need paid