The Girl Scout dug through box after box of cookies, hoping to find the missing cash.
It was late Saturday afternoon when the money bag containing about $600 — money from the day’s Girl Scout cookie sales — disappeared. Just moments earlier, the scouts had made a $100 sale.
Now, all the money was gone.
“That child, she was in the back of that truck searching every box of cookies,” said Jennifer Taylor, a scout mom and assistant leader of Beaufort’s Girl Scout Troop 45. “She was as vigilant as an adult would have been.”
The search happened after a thief stole Troop 45’s cookie money between 4:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in the Lowe’s parking lot at 207 Robert Smalls Parkway, according to Beaufort Police Department spokeswoman officer Hope Able. The money was taken from a shopping cart as the troop was packing up and preparing to change locations. No suspect has been named, Able said, and the investigation is ongoing.
Girl Scout cookie sales are designed to teach girls the finer points of running a business, troop leader Dana Wright said. They learn about customer service, money and inventory management — life lessons for future leaders.
Over the weekend, Troop 45 learned that life sometimes isn’t fair. The girls will have to cover the $600 loss, Wright said, but they’ve got one more weekend of cookie sales.
“We talk about in most any business (how) there’s almost always the shrinkage factor, where businesses have to account for theft,” Wright said Monday.
She wondered how anyone could steal from Girl Scouts.
“When you took this money,” she said, addressing the thief, “... you’re taking from young girls and other civic leaders in the community. And those aren’t the people you should be harming — those are the people you should be supporting.”
When you took this money, you’re not just taking from some random person. ... You’re taking from young girls and other civic leaders in the community. And those aren’t the people you should be harming — those are the people you should be supporting.
In addition to the stolen money, the thief took the troop’s parade badges. The badges were in the bag with the money. The troop had just received them for participating in the Beaufort Christmas Parade and for other community service activities.
“I don’t understand why he couldn’t have at least thrown their badges down on the ground or something,” Taylor said.
Troop 45 has received $324 in donations over the course of its cookie sale, Taylor said. While that money will help, the scouts will need another $276 — the cash equivalent of 69 boxes of cookies — to make up for the entire loss.
The scouts’ last cookie sale will take place this weekend. They’ll be on the grocery side of Walmart in Beaufort from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and, if there are any cookies left, at the Bi-Lo on Parris Island from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s just devastating, because the girls worked hard to sell those cookies,” Taylor said. “And now with this (person) taking them, it’s like they didn’t make any sales.”