Instead of handing out tickets, Salem police surprise residents with $100 bills

Local News

Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott said the station received the money from a secret donor

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – Money is a great gift to give anyone, and for a number of people in Salem, Christmas came early this year.

Salem police were charged with a special task: give a $100 bill to whoever could use the money.

“I started crying because I was honestly shocked,” said one of the recipients, Katie Hergenroder.

For people like Hergenroder, it was unexpected.

“An officer pulled out behind me. I was pulled over for a burned out headlight and instead of giving me a ticket, I got ‘Secret Santa’ by [the] Salem Police Department,” Hergenroder said.

Some officers overheard people talking about their tight grocery budget.

“We started shopping and we got to the register and my husband was standing with my daughter in the stroller and they walked up to him,” said another recipient, Chelsea Toot. “I looked and I saw they were standing by him and they used that police voice on him like, ‘How are you doing today, sir?’ kind of thing and I was like, ‘Oh no, what did he do?'”

Some people got emotional after receiving the money.

“I gave him a hug ’cause I was not expecting that,” said $100 bill recipient Hunter Stouffer.

“Here it was a $100 bill they gave us and we both just stood there in shock. We started joking about me thinking he was getting picked up for something,” Toot said. “We wanted to cry. We didn’t know what was going on. We were like, ‘What’s happening?’ We were so excited, so thankful.”

Some of the people have already spent the money.

“We were able to actually go and get more things that we needed at the house and put some money back for gasoline,” Toot said.

For Hergenroder, she got her tail light fixed that night, but with her own money. That $100 is going toward something else.

“I’m actually going to be buying a Christmas present for my boyfriend’s daughter and the rest of it is going back into the community for Angels for Animals,” she said.

Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott said the station received the money from a donor, whose name will be kept private.

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