Police went to the Sam's Club at 1500 Helen Power Drive around 5:50 p.m. in response to a reported armed robbery, Officer Scott Whitehouse said.
The bell ringer told police he was robbed of his kettle at gunpoint, Whitehouse said.
However, Charles Gidron, 58, of Fairfield, had actually called a relative and asked him to pick up the collection kettle, Officer Gordon Makimoto said. The relative complied but was unaware the kettle was being stolen, Makimoto said.
When confronted by police, Gidron had $32 in his pocket of the $132 that had been collected and he admitted to stealing money from the kettle, Makimoto said.
The relative was then called and returned the kettle, Makimoto said. The relative was not arrested.
Gidron was arrested for embezzlement and filing a false police report and the kettle was returned to the Salvation Army, police said.