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HOBART — Charges have been filed against a 53-year-old Merrillville man accused of stealing a donation jar Dec. 28 from a Speedway gas station.

Allen L. Edwards turned himself in Monday, the same day the Hobart Police Department circulated surveillance photos of Edwards stealing the Children's Miracle Network jar to the media and via social media, according to Hobart police Lt. James Gonzales.

Edwards allegedly entered a Speedway gas station near 61st Avenue and Interstate 65 at 9:53 p.m. Dec. 28 and engaged the clerk in conversation. 

Police said once the clerk walked away, the man reached over the counter and grabbed the donation jar before exiting the gas station. 

Following the release of the surveillance photos, several people called the police department positively identifying Edwards as the suspect, Gonzales said. Police also compared surveillance footage with a previous booking photo to identify Edwards as the suspect. 

In speaking with police, Edwards alluded to the fact the clerk told him he could take the jar, a claim the employee subsequently denied to police, according to a probable cause affidavit. Edwards also told police there was only about $5 worth of change in the jar.

Edwards has been charged with theft, a class A misdemeanor. 

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Public safety reporter

Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.