Who stole the Girl Scout cookie money from the cookie money safe?
That was the question Woodbridge, New Jersey police were asking after a central Jersey troop leader claimed an envelope containing $1,000 was stolen off a table where she and her troop were selling cookies at a local mall.
Jessica Medina, a volunteer leader, told police that a possibly disguised man took the envelope containing $500 cash and multiple checks off the table. She said the envelope had been left unattended but that the theft must have been captured on mall security cameras. She also said the thief was a man walking with an elderly woman using a red walker, according to NBC.
Police interviewed parents and anyone else who were helping to sell cookies that day, and discovered that the money envelope was actually “kept in a secure cash box and was never left out on the table,” NBC reported. Police also talked to the man traveling with the elderly woman and determined they were not suspects. The alleged theft was not captured on mall security cameras.
Medina then changed her story after police spoke to her again, now suggesting the envelope was accidentally thrown out after the cookie sale.
The Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey (GSCSNJ) released a statement Wednesday saying they were “surprised and very saddened” by the investigation, and have severed ties with Medina.
“Today, the Woodbridge Police Department announced that an exhaustive investigation into the alleged theft of Girl Scout cookie monies has concluded with a finding of insufficient evidence to support the theft allegation as initially reported by our troop leader,” the statement said.
“We are surprised and very saddened at this turn of events. The Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey expects the highest standards of fiscal responsibility and ethical behavior from our volunteers, in keeping with our mission, our values, and our Girl Scout Promise and Laws. To that end, GSCSNJ has removed this troop leader from her position as a Girl Scout volunteer,” the statement continued.
After the theft was reported, people began donating to the troops, including one man who said he donated $1,200.
“We will continue working closely and cooperating fully with law enforcement concerning this issue and will ensure that all donations made to or for Troop 80062 are handled in a responsible, transparent manner, consistent with our reporting obligations, local law, and Girl Scout guidelines and practices, including returning donations upon request,” the GSCSNJ said in its statement.
Our focus now is helping our girls to move forward with their cookie season and the continuation of their Girl Scout journey, building leadership skills that will give them the courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place.
Cookie season is one of the most magical – and fattening – times of the year. Troops compete to see who can sell the most boxes, and troops only get to keep a fraction of each sale, so an actual theft could be very hurtful.