On the morning of March 6, a man named Brian Couture called the police in Forest Grove, Oregon. A burglar had come into his home through the glass door, he alleged, and he and the burglar were struggling. When the police arrived, according to KATU, they found an unresponsive Couture, whom they took to a hospital. It seemed legit enough that neighbors said they were scared to be home alone after hearing about the incident.
But even after a search with police dogs, police couldn’t find a burglar, and after two weeks, they concluded that it was all one big grift: Instead of being stolen from, Couture was a thief. As reported by the Hillsboro Tribune, Couture allegedly confessed that he’d staged the burglary to cover up the fact that he’d stolen $740 from the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. That money, according to KRDV, came from his daughter’s Girl Scout cookie sales—and he then spent it “inappropriately,” according to the police.
Couture was arrested and went to court on Friday, where he pleaded not guilty to filing a false report and “improper use of an emergency reporting system,” reported KPTV. It’s not clear what the court’s official ruling will be, but the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington is handling the money side and “following our normal procedure to collect on funds owed,” according to a statement. As a spokesperson for the group told the Tribune, regular theft “unfortunately does happen, particularly around our product sales,” because of all the cash floating around.
The Girl Scout cookie scammers are out in full swing this season: In late January, $1,000 was reported stolen from a Girl Scout troop in northern New Jersey by “a man, who may have been in disguise,” who had allegedly pocketed an envelope of cash and checks while the troop was selling cookies at a mall. (When the police investigated further, the story just didn't add up, and the troop leader was kicked out of her position.) In early March, a man stole $600 from three Girl Scouts while they sold cookies in Seattle.
The Girl Scouts take payments by app now—which is good news for those of us who never carry cash around, but also for all the kids who keep getting their sales skimmed by actual adults.