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Crime & Justice

South El Monte Girl Scout leader accused of stealing from cookie fund

Andrew Prince/NPR

A Girl Scout leader in South El Monte has been arrested on charges of stealing from her troop’s cookie fund.

The Pasadena Star-News first broke the story about 30-year-old Ana Isabel Juarez, who stands accused of siphoning at least $4,000, and possibly $6,000, from her troop’s cookie profits by improper use of a Girl Scout credit card.

Normally, profits from sales of the famous Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs go to Girl Scout expenses. In this case, say police, they went to pampering Juarez.

“It was just shocking to see that we became her own personal piggy bank -- gas, nails, Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret,” said a troop co-leader to CBS.

Juarez, who helped lead Troop 15781, was arrested on April 17 on suspicion of grand theft, and is scheduled to appear in court on May 8.

Troop 15781 serves girls in South El Monte and El Monte. The case went to Arcadia police, however, since the troop’s “service center” is based there.

(Something very similar happened in Des Moines last week, and one wonders how often Girl Scout cookie money is embezzled.)

There’s not much more to this story, except that it gave journalists a great opportunity to work on their cookie puns. Naturally “hand in the cookie jar” was a favorite, although CBS mangled that theme with “Caught in the cookie jar” for a headline, which doesn’t make sense, and a lead paragraph that reads: “Honesty wasn’t a lesson learned by one San Gabriel Valley Girl Scout troop leader who was reportedly caught with her hand in the cookie jar -- literally.”

She wasn’t literally caught with her hand in a literal cookie jar. It was a figurative cookie jar.

In the end, the Star-News won this contest with its simple but sweet headline: “Cops say Girl Scout leader took cookie dough.”