Cookie caper crumbles for mom

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Shelby County’s great cookie mystery has apparently been solved.

Doris LeAnn Taylor, 33, of Shelby was arrested last Wednesday and charged with one count of first degree theft of property by deception.

The following day her husband, 33-year-old Michael W. Taylor of Shelby, was arrested on the same charge.

&uot;Investigators determined that Mr. Taylor had knowledge and participated in the attempts to deceive the Scout troop from receiving the monies due them. He is charged with the same offense as his wife,&uot; Sheriff Chris Curry said.

According to Curry, the Taylors apparently sold the cookies and then spent the money on household expenses.

They are suspected of taking some 1,600 boxes of Girl Scout cookies for a troop sale and then not returning the cookies or the money.

The Girl Scouts of Cahaba Council contacted the department March 28 to report a possible theft. The investigation centered on Doris Taylor, who was manager of her daughter’s troop cookie sale.

According to the sheriff’s department, she ordered about 294 cases, or 3,528 boxes, of cookies. Each box costs $3, meaning she had a little more than $10,500 of cookies.

The Cahaba Council attempted several times to recover the cookies or the money. They even sent registered letters but never received a response from Taylors, according to Girl Scout officials.

When Doris Taylor never deposited any of the money she had received from cookie sales, that gave scout officials a &uot;red flag&uot; according to Marjorie Davis-Stephan, spokesperson for the Cahaba Council of the Girl Scouts.

&uot;When the cookie orders come in, the troop’s cookie manager is told to make deposits in our bank,&uot; Davis-Stephan said. &uot;We have very strict guidelines …&uot;

Authorities did receive a phone tip that a large amount of cookies were being loaded into a personal vehicle at a Pelham storage facility.

Scout leaders and Pelham Police officers went to the location and recovered 117 cases of cookies from the Taylors, who were at the scene.

However, they were unable to recover the remaining cases or the money owed.

Scouts sell the cookies on an individual basis as well as through booth sales at grocery stores, department stores and other locations.

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, however.

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

&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,&uot; the council’s website states. &uot;All of the proceeds from the sale of Girl Scout cookies go to support girls in Girl Scouting. No money is given to any organization other than Girl Scouts of Cahaba Council.&uot;

Stephan-Davis said most troop leaders and cookie moms are honest people just trying to help a good cause.

&uot;This is unusual,&uot; she said.

According to media reports, Doris Taylor will also serve 128 days in a Jefferson County jail for unrelated bad check charges.

She pled guilty to 12 bad check charges in Jefferson County four years ago, and also faces eight bad check charges in Shelby County.

She allegedly wrote checks totaling more than $4,000 in Shelby County