SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s that time of year so many in the community look forward to: Girl Scout cookie season! But this year, troops in Bradenton just discovered an alarming issue.
Who would steal money from a little girl? It’s essentially the problem that several Girl Scout troops now have after receiving counterfeit cash at several locations selling cookies in the last week.
They just started selling cookies on Valentine’s Day and already leaders of the Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida said hundreds of dollars in counterfeit cash has been unknowingly collected.
About six Girl Scout troops selling cookies at three locations in Bradenton found out they received at least $500 in fake money after trying to deposit it at the bank in the last week.
But troop leaders think even more Girl Scouts may be victims.
A total of 50 of the 220 troops in Manatee County have been selling at those same three locations in Bradenton. Two are Publix grocery stores on State Road 64 and one Walmart location on State Road 70.
“All of the girls who are out there have set goals. There are things they want to do for fun, there are things they want to do for an additional Girl Scout experience," explained Kelly McGraw, director of member experience. "All of these counterfeit bills are deducting from them reaching their goals. On the flip side, they’re learning about counterfeit bills, but then of course, someone has to explain to them why someone would like to rip off a little girl’s cookie business.”
The troops pay for the cookies themselves upfront, then they sell the cookies to the community.
To find where Girl Scouts are selling cookies, there’s now an app called “Girl Scout Cookie Finder.” Any donations to help the troops are also being accepted. For more information, click here.