The Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting that a Kentucky woman was recently indicted for felony larceny of $15,000.00 worth of Girl Scout cookies. It appears that the woman was the troop leader for the Wilderness Road Chapter of the Girl Scouts. She went down to the cookie pickup point and picked up the chapter’s cookies on February 1st. The woman did not pay for the cookies or deliver them to the girl scouts.
It’s unclear what happened to the cookies, but the grand jury indicted her for felony unlawful taking. In Kentucky, like many other states, the potential punishments for thefts varies according to the amount taken. In this case, the charge is a Kentucky Class C Felony because the value of the stolen cookies is between $10,000.00 and $1,000,000.00.
In Virginia, unfortunately, the potential punishment for larceny hinges on just one number: $200.00. A Virginia larceny is a felony if the item or items stolen are valued at $200.00 or more. (The felony statute is here.) It is a misdemeanor if the value is less than $200.00. (The misdemeanor statute is here.) As a felony, larceny is a crime punishable by, among other things, up to twenty years of imprisonment. Misdemeanor larceny is punishable by, among other things, up to twelve months in jail.
This $200.00 threshold means that defendants who steal even small items face big consequences. For example, Virginia shoplifters who steal a couple of shirts might find themselves facing twenty years in prison. A Girl Scout cookie thief in Virginia would face felony charges for stealing only forty boxes of cookies. (Based on a $5.00 per box value.)
Because the felony threshold is so low, it is important to verify the value of the items that were allegedly stolen. Likewise, it is essential that a licensed attorney examine the Commonwealth’s evidence and confirm that they can prove every element of larceny. Additional information on how an attorney can help a defendant charged with larceny can be found here.
What happened to the cookies?
Really though, the most interesting aspect of this case to me is just what happened to the cookies. By my estimate, the woman stole about 3000 boxes of girl scout cookies. It seems unlikely to me that the she moved the cookies on some sort of cookie black market or on the dark web for bitcoin. I suppose it’s possible she ate them all herself but that would be about 30 boxes of cookies a day. At my best, I think I could only eat 3 boxes a day.
I’ll be following the story and provide more as it develops.