A New Jersey Girl Scouts troop leader was removed from her position Wednesday after authorities say her previously reported theft of more than $1,000 in cookie money sales inside a Garden State mall earlier this month never actually happened.
Woodbridge Township police concluded their investigation into the alleged theft and found that there was “insufficient evidence to support the theft allegation.”
Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey said they decided to remove Troop 80062 leader Jessica Medina from her volunteer position.
“We are surprised and very saddened at this turn of events,” the GSCSNJ said in a statement online. “The Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey expects the highest standards of fiscal responsibility and ethical behavior from our volunteers, in keeping with our mission, our values, and our Girl Scout Promise and Laws.”
It was back on Jan. 18 when Medina told police that two thieves swiped $500 in cash and several checks from a bank envelope left unattended on a table where members of Troop 80062 were making their cookie sales at Woodbridge Center Mall.
The blame was initially pointed at a man, possibly wearing a disguise, and a woman using a red walker, police said. Police later interviewed the duo and eliminated them as suspects while also determining the alleged theft, which was first said to have been recorded on surveillance video in the mall, was in fact never captured on video.
After interviewing parents, troop members and witnesses at the cookie sale event that day, police said the envelope was never on the display table at any time, but rather secured inside a cash box.
When police interviewed Medina again, they claim she changed her story, claiming the missing cash wasn’t from the cookie sale, but instead was “previously submitted by the Girl Scouts to pay for scouting events such as roller skating and the Daddy-Daughter dance,” police said in their statement. Police said she claimed she was planning on taking it to the bank.
On Tuesday, as police were conducting a final interview with Medina, they said they told her there was no evidence the theft actually took place. Police said she agreed with the findings, “speculating that perhaps the envelope containing the money was accidentally discarded with the trash as the scouts cleaned up the area.”
Medina told the New York Post that she never changed her original story and blamed cops of “not doing their job properly.”
“If they’d found them that night they would have been able to arrest them,” Median told the Post. “That person would have had the envelope in their possession that night.”
The GSCSNJ said the main focus now is to help the girls move forward with their cookie season.
“We will continue working closely and cooperating fully with law enforcement concerning this issue and will ensure that all donations made to or for Troop 80062 are handled in a responsible, transparent manner, consistent with our reporting obligations, local law, and Girl Scout guidelines and practices, including returning donations upon request.”