Cookie ‘dough’ still missing

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

There’s apparently one hungry crook out there.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of more than $4,800 of Girl Scout cookies from throughout the county.

That doesn’t include 117 cases, or 1,404 boxes, of cookies that earlier were confiscated from a storage unit in the county.

&uot;This is atypical,&uot; said Marjorie Davis-Stephan, spokesperson for the Cahaba Council of the Girl Scouts. &uot;We have filed a report with the sheriff’s department.&uot;

According to Chief Deputy John Samaniego of the sheriff’s office, the suspect is an adult female from south Shelby County. The Cahaba Council reported the theft. No arrest had been made as of Monday afternoon.

&uot;We currently have it under investigation,&uot; Samaniego said. &uot;They can’t find her, or the cookies. This person did not bring the money back.&uot;

The woman, who according to Davis-Stephan was a cookie manager and Scout mom, reported about 3,000 boxes of pre-ordered sales.

The cookies were delivered in February.

She apparently picked up the cookies but never returned payment for them at $3 per box.

If charged, she could face first degree theft charges, a felony punishable by probation to 20 years in prison.

Davis-Stephan said it is not unusual to report that many pre-sold boxes of cookies.

&uot;There are troops who certainly do that,&uot; she said.

Scouts often sell the cookies on an individual basis, as well as through booth sales at grocery stores, department stores and other locations. Individual boxes sell for $3 each.

Troops are often not required to pay for the boxes when they pick up the cookies. They are given a specific timeframe to return the money or cookies.

Cookie managers are encouraged to turn in money periodically and not at one time. However, the woman in question has apparently not turned in any money yet, according to Davis-Stephan.

It is not known if the other 1,600-plus boxes have been sold yet.

The woman in question was supposed to report back to the council at least three weeks ago, Davis-Stephan said.

When she did not, the council attempted to reach her, and apparently made contact with her at least one time, Davis-Stephan said.

&uot;We’ve sent her registered letters,&uot; Davis-Stephan said. &uot;We have passed our cookie order deadline.&uot;

A variety of cookie types, such as Thin Mints and Do-si-dos, were likely stolen, she said.

The annual cookie sale is the council’s largest fundraiser, netting some $2 million. The council is comprised of seven counties, including Shelby.

&uot;We have a very high number of girls participating in the program,&uot; Davis-Stephan said. &uot;Girl Scouts is huge in Shelby County.

&uot;The majority of our money stays here locally. It’s our largest fundraiser.&uot;

According to the council’s website, all proceeds from the annual sale go to fund Scout activities.

&uot;Every penny after paying for the cookie sale activities supports the Girl Scouts of Cahaba Council, including a portion that goes directly to the troop or group selling cookies … All of the proceeds from the sale of Girl Scout cookies goes to support girls in Girl Scouting. No money is given to any organization other than Girl Scouts of Cahaba Council.