A Girl Scouts troop leader in New Jersey has reportedly been ousted from the organization after authorities determined that her story about someone stealing $1,000 in cookie sales was just that: a story.
According to NJ.com, Jessica Medina claimed an envelope containing $500 and several checks was stolen on the afternoon of January 18 when a table set up by Girl Scouts Troop 80062 was left unattended near the entrance of Woodbridge Center Mall. A Facebook post Medina reportedly wrote alleged that a man with an elderly woman using a walker was responsible for the theft—but police ultimately eliminated both of them as suspects.
Police said surveillance footage and witness interviews also revealed that an envelope was never left on the table and that the cookie sale proceeds was in a cash box located on the same table.
Medina allegedly changed her story at some point, telling investigators that the money was thrown away. Police found further “inconsistencies” with her story: For one, Medina reportedly said the cookie sales were not that but actually money given to the scouts to pay for future events. Additionally, Medina claimed she was planning to deposit the money at a bank but couldn’t explain why it was at the mall in the first place, according to the news station.
As a result, Woodbridge police announced Tuesday that there was “insufficient evidence to support the theft allegation as it was initially reported,” according to NBC News.
In a statement posted to their website, the Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey said they were “surprised and very saddened” about police’s findings and announced Medina’s removal from her volunteer position.
A flood of donations reportedly came in for the New Jersey Girl Scouts troop following the reported theft. In light of Tuesday’s announcement, they stated they’re issuing refunds upon request.
The organization wrote, “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.”
[Featured image: Facebook]