Girls Scouts 'stunned' by weekend robbery; more sales planned

Published: Monday, March 18 2013 9:18 p.m. MDT

Unified police say a man and a woman drove away in this vehicle after the man stole a cash box from Girl Scouts selling cookies at Wal-Mart, 5469 S. Redwood Road, on Saturday.

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TAYLORSVILLE — The Girl Scouts of America said Monday it is very thankful for all the community support it's received since money was stolen from a group of Girl Scouts selling cookies.

In a prepared statement, the group said it was "stunned" and "saddened" by the weekend robbery. Girls from Troop 2532 were in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, 5469 S. Redwood Road, on Saturday when a man got out of a vehicle, acted like he was going to buy cookies, and then grabbed the cash box and ran. He got back into the car and drove off with a woman.

The Girl Scout Cookie theft also surprised many Utahns, including Troop 2532 member Sarah Kendall.

"I was kind of shocked, and I didn't really expect that to happen," she said. "Why would someone steal money from little girls that were selling cookies?"

But Taylorsville officials didn't want to let the girls think that's the way the cookie crumbles in their town. On Monday, they invited the girls who had their money stolen to sell cookies for a couple of hours at City Hall, 2600 W. 5400 South.

The troop will be selling cookies Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Taylorsville City Hall, thanks to the efforts of Mayor Jerry Rechtenbach. They hope to recover some of the lost funds through the cookies they sell. 

Troop Leader Jeanette Williams said the girls planned to use the funds they earned this year to help with their service projects and to help send girls to camp. However, instead of camp, the troop was planning on attending the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab to spend a few days volunteering with the animals. The trip would not be possible without the help of the funds from cookie sales. 

"Without that money, we would just be able to do less service," Williams said. 

When the girls sell cookies, they are able to learn valuable skills at a young age, she said, such as talking with adults, learning to sell a product and managing funds.

The community has begun reaching out to show their support. The Eagle morning show donated $200 to the troop and began accepting donations from their listeners as well. Troop 2532 is waiting to hear back on the amount that has been donated. 

In its statement, the Girl Scouts of America said its girls and volunteers who help with the annual sales are smart cookies and "attend extensive training before selling cookies, which include courses in safety."

"Unfortunately, as we saw this weekend, not every contingency can be planned for," said spokeswoman Annie Cutler.

Donations are being accepted at www.gsutah.org, or by texting GSUDONATE to 27299. An account has also been set up at all Zions Bank for donations under the name "Girl Scouts of Utah Troop 2532."

The money will go toward the Girl Scouts Outreach Program, which focuses on at-risk communities and underserved schools.

Witnesses described the robber as a white male in his 20s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall,  weighing approximately 150 pounds with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and had a sleeve of tattoos covering his left arm.

The woman was described as thin with blond hair. They were in a teal or green Chevrolet Cavalier.

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said no arrests have been made in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 801-743-7000.

Contributing: Devon Dolan

E-mail: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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