TAYLORSVILLE — Police are looking for a thief who stole money from a group of Girl Scouts selling cookies outside of a local discount store. Investigators said the girls of Troop 2532 were in the parking lot of the Walmart located at 5469 S. Redwood Road when a man and woman drove by the stand they were operating.
The couple’s car later pulled up to the stand, stopped, and the man got out and approached the group of girls who were selling cookies.
“(He) acted as if he was going to buy some cookies, then saw the cash box, reached across the table, grabbed the cash box and took off running,” said Lieutenant Justin Hoyal with the Unified Police Department. The man jumped back into the car and the couple drove off onto Redwood Road, he said.
Michaela Boyette, one of the Girl Scouts who was standing nearby when the incident occurred, said the first thought that she and her friends had was "why?"
- Older model
- Green or teal
- Chevrolet Cavalier
- Utah Centennial plates
- Faded coloring on the roof
- Factory rims
"We were angry, kind of mad at him," she said, "but we can't really change that. It's gone."
Boyette said the money her troop raises from the cookie sells goes toward the cost of camp, but is also used for year-round service projects at the Humane Society, animal shelters and an annual activity where the girls make valentines for veterans.
"He's pretty much not stealing from us, just stealing from them," she said.
Hoyal said witnesses described the vehicle as an older model \ sedan driven by a woman with a thin build. The man was described as a white male in his 20’s, about 5-foot-9, weighing approximately 150 pounds with a thin build, wearing a white T-shirt. He also had a sleeve of tattoos covering his left arm, Hoyal said.
“This was a very sad crime,” Hoyal said. “These young girls worked very hard to raise money for a great organization and for somebody to come up and steal that money is very sad.”
He said the crime took place despite the presence of adult leaders nearby, but the man still approached and “saw an opportunity” to grab the money and run. No one was hurt in the encounter.
"Our girls still have cookies to sell. We just feel like it's one of those things where we need to get them back out there so they're not afraid and that they know there's so many people out there that want to support the girls and girl scouting."
Meanwhile, the troop and its leaders are committed to getting back to work.
"Our girls still have cookies to sell," said troop leader Jeanette Williams. "We just feel like it's one of those things where we need to get them back out there so they’re not afraid and that they know there’s so many people out there that want to support the girls and girl scouting."
Williams said the troop makes sure to change out their money frequently during the day to have as little cash on hand as possible. She said the girls have received an outpouring of support from the community since the incident, including many people who have asked how to donate funds.
She said she would be meeting with regional Girl Scout leaders to ask about receiving donations, but for the time being Taylorsville residents could expect to see the girls back in action selling cookies on Saturday, though not at the Walmart.
"Those girls, they work very hard for their money and they use their money for good causes," Williams said. "I can’t imagine why anyone would want to steal from them. It’s not easy for them to stand out there all day selling those cookies."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Unified Police at 801-743-7000.
Contributing: Benjamin Wood