An employee was finishing a route to collect Red Kettles from stores in Manteca and Tracy when the incident happened.
"Clearly they came in here and smashed these two windows and all the glass is on the seat," said Capt. Doug Hanson with the Salvation Army in San Joaquin County.
During a stop at a Safeway in Tracy, located at 1801 W. 11th Street, the car's passenger window was broken and five kettles were taken.
The Salvation Army employee reports she saw three men drive off with the donations in a gray Dodge Charger.
Income from Salvation Army kettles goes to holiday programs and year round services like the food assistance program. The San Joaquin County location says they were already down this year compared to last year in terms of donations. They say the amount stolen will set them back even further.
"I get it, they probably did it because times are tough, we'd love to help," Hanson said. "We'll help any and everyone that needs help during the Christmas season, that's what we're here for. That's what the money we raised is for, to help our community."
The Red Kettle campaign runs through Dec. 24.