Police are warning the public to be wary of thieves who target charities and steal from people who give generously during the holiday season.

A hardware store was targeted over the weekend in the Halifax suburb of Clayton Park, where a man allegedly stole a donation bucket benefitting people with disabilities.

He eventually turned himself in to police, along with most of the cash.

“A guy ran up, grabbed the donation bin and just kept going right out the open doors,” says store manager Mike Armstrong.

“Three seconds is what it took him to do it. He ran in and grabbed and went. It can happen that fast to anybody, whether it’s a store, or just people shopping. It doesn’t take long for someone to do something like that.”

Brenda Dooks owns a clothing store in Dartmouth. She says she had a recent run-in with imposters. She says three people came in singing with a guitar, soliciting donations.

“And the girl came over to the counter and she was very aggressive and was wanting money for the Asian Wish Foundation for underprivileged kids,” says Dooks.

Police say it’s important to report scrooge-like scams because it’s likely other people and businesses have been targeted too.

“People canvassing will have badges. They will have ID cards, they have some kind of identification that will say they are working for that charity or on behalf of it,” says Halifax Regional Police Const. Pierre Bourdages.

In the case of the made-up charity, Dooks says they copied the logo of the Children’s Wish Foundation. They shopped it around at several stores in downtown Dartmouth.

“It’s unfair that this is happening to our wish children that we are trying to raise the needed funds for, so they can go to Disney or meet a celebrity,” says Cheryl Matthews, spokesperson for the Children’s Wish Foundation.

“I really truly feel that the charity has been victimized.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl