More than $1,000 stolen from Girl Scouts Smoky Shadows Service Unit on July 4th. Picture courtesy: Terri Butler
The Fourth of July is usually a time of happiness and fun spent with friends and family. However, for the Girl Scouts Smoky Shadows Service Unit, a hard day's work ended in despair.
Pigeon Forge police are hoping to find the man who stole a large sum of money from the Girl Scouts Smoky Shadows Service Unit, after they spent the holiday raising that cash.
"We sold fans and noisemakers," 11-year-old Rebekah Hemphill said on Tuesday as she described the details of her hard work. The group spent most of the day at Patriot Park selling toys, fans, glow sticks and noisemakers to people celebrating the Fourth of July.
The fundraiser was intended for a scholarship fund that would have been used to help pay for girls to join the Girl Scouts.
When the fireworks display began, the thief took hard-earned money while the Scouts were enjoying the celebrations.
The man reportedly reached into the canopy the group was using, took the cash box and fled the scene after being chased by one of the unit's leaders, Sheron Duckworth.
"I just gave chase, because that's what you do," Duckworth said of her pursuit. In the end, the suspect escaped with the cash box.
According to the police report, the man took the cash box and took off across Patriot Park towards the KOA Campground. Duckworth ran after the thief but was unable to catch up to him as he jumped the fence and ran off.
Duckworth said what happened taught the young girls an unfortunate tough lesson.
"Mainly we'll tell them, what I say to my kids, 'be smart, not scared. You just have to be smart,'" Duckworth said. "In the future, we'll take many more measures to keep everything safe."
Pigeon Forge police are continuing the search for the person who stole the cash box. Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts Smoky Shadows Service Unit is moving forward and hoping that whoever stole their hard-earned money will come forward and return it.
"He should be nice and give us the money back," Hemphill added.
Mountain National Bank has set up a donation fund for the group to help compensate their losses.