CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Police released surveillance images of a person of interest in the theft of money from a local Girl Scout troop Sunday afternoon.
Troop 953 was selling cookies Sunday afternoon in front of the Petco at 975 Savannah Highway, according to Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis.
At approximately 3:10 p.m. the Girl Scouts counted their money and were changing shifts, and as one of the victims turned her back to the table, she heard her daughter yell and saw a young man believed to be in his 20s running with the container of money, the incident report states. The victim told police she had just counted the money and that the container held $345 collected from cookie sales.
Sophia Fox is part of the troop, though she was not there when it happened.
"It's going to take me a day or two to really accept it that it happened to my troop, to happen to my friends and it's just hard," Fox said.
Michelle Rowe is a parent and one of the troop's leaders. She was selling cookies at a different location when the incident happened.
"It's kind of heartbreaking, I know I'm trying not to cry, the little girl that it happened to is nine years old and she's my quiet child and for her it was scary," Rowe said. "Traumatizing for her to chase after her mom who was chasing the guy with the money."
Police described the man as having brown hair, 18-25 years old, 5'8" to 6 feet tall, wearing dark pants and a blue shirt. Rowe says he ran around the back of the building and took off on a bike.
The money goes to the troops' year-round activities and funds their badges as they accomplish new things.
Britney Rowe is also a girl Scout and Michelle's daughter.
"I was really scared because I didn't know how much money they took and if we were still able to do some of the activities we had planned," Britney said.
Michelle says others had noticed the suspicious man lingering nearby before he swiped the cash.
"Just be cautious other troops out there... you just don't expect it to happen," Michelle said.
Police say during their patrols officers will interact with Girls Scouts who are selling cookies at local businesses and offer suggestions to prevent any future incidents.
"This one incident is not going to stop us we are going to do what we have planned with our activities and we are going to have fun," Britany said.
Police are looking into obtaining surveillance video to help identify the suspect.
Anyone with information can call 843-743-7200 and ask for the on-duty CPD detective or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.
People have already made donations to the troop to help offset its lost funds.