ANDERSON, S.C. — A Girl Scout's mother was punched and kicked as she tried to stop someone from stealing a money box from a cookie stand outside of the Powdersville Walmart on Sunday afternoon, according to an Anderson County Sheriff's Office report.
Juli Spann has been volunteering with Girl Scouts for nearly two decades. She said she's sold cookies dozens of times over the years.
Spann and her daughter were selling cookies around 2:15 p.m. Sunday when a woman came out of a black Jeep and went to a vending machine before asking if the Scouts had a newer $1 bill, according to a deputy's report.
The women exchanged money and the woman from the Jeep went back to her vehicle several times before picking up several boxes of cookies and asking the driver of the Jeep what kind of cookies she wanted, according to the Sheriff's Office report.
Spann said the woman paid $4 and grabbed a box containing about $300 from the Scouts' sales. The woman held the box for a few moments and stared at the girls before leaving, according to Spann, who said her daughter initially thought the woman was just joking with them.
When Spann realized the woman was stealing the money, she tried to take the box back. "I wasn't going to let the girls lose that hard earned money," she said.
There was a struggle for the money box and the thief punched and kicked Spann before getting into the Jeep to leave, according to Spann.
The Girl Scout, whose age was not made public in the report, also tried to get the money back. According to Spann, employees and customers at Walmart also tried to help.
Once the woman got away, Spann said Walmart employees spread the word that the money had been stolen and the troop saw an immediate increase in sales.
Donations made since the incident have more than made up for what was lost, according to Karen Kelly, director of marketing and communications for Girl Scouts South Carolina-Mountains to Midlands.
An emotional Spann said the most difficult thing about the theft was feeling like she let the girls down by not getting the box back, but she knows she did everything she could.
"That woman was bold and brazen and no matter what we would've done, she would've taken it," she said.
The deputy's report said video from Walmart confirms an assault on the volunteer and the theft of the money box.
Spann said she didn't have any major injuries, but her hand was in some pain and she has a compression fracture in one vertebra.
In a statement, a Walmart spokesman said customers and employees gave donations to the Girl Scouts after the theft.
"It was great to see our associates and customers step forward to help these young ladies recoup the money they lost," the company said in the statement.