Wednesday, December 24, 2014


An American flag is stitched above a Weblo pen on the scout uniform of Forrest Ludwick III. Ludwick and other scouts and parents discussed how they are planning to replace funds stolen by a former Cubmaster during an interview Friday, March 21, 2014. (Jennifer Shephard / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Parent Crystal Barnett listens to others talk about stolen funds from Cub Scout troop 762 during an interview Friday, March 21, 2014. A former Cubmaster stole $5,000, which is a year's worth of the troops' fundraising efforts. (Jennifer Shephard / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Nicole Taylor, former Cub Master of pack 762, was arrested on March 15, 2014 on theft charges. (Elkhart County Jail)

Parent Kathy Barkow talks about stolen funds from Cub Scout troop 762 during an interview Friday, March 21, 2014. A former Cubmaster stole $5,000, which is a year's worth of the troops' fundraising efforts. (Jennifer Shephard / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Ann Linley talks about stolen funds from Cub Scout troop 762 during an interview Friday, March 21, 2014. A former Cubmaster stole $5,000, which is a year's worth of the troops' fundraising efforts. (Jennifer Shephard / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Weblo Scout Forrest Ludwick III, center, rests his head on his arms as he listens to parents during an interview at The Truth Friday, March 21, 2014. Troop 762 is working to replace funds that were stolen by the Cubmaster. (Jennifer Shephard / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Weblo Scout Forrest Ludwick III, left, talks about a camping experience during an interview at The Truth Friday, March 21, 2014. Troop 762 is working to replace funds that were stolen by the Cubmaster. (Jennifer Shephard / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Weblo Scout Forrest Ludwick III, back, stands behind his father Forrest Ludwick II as they listen to Ann Linley talk about stolen funds from the scout troop during an interview at The Truth Friday, March 21, 2014. (Jennifer Shephard / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Weblo Scout Forrest Ludwick III, back left, leans on fellow scout James McGuire, right, as his father Forrest Ludwick II, front, listens to Ann Linley talk about stolen funds during an interview at The Truth Friday, March 21, 2014. (Jennifer Shephard / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)
Cub Scouts leader steals $5,000 from pack

Posted on March 23, 2014 at 11:02 a.m.

ELKHART -- Cub Scout Pack 762 sold more than $5,000 worth of popcorn last year, but they have nothing to show for it.

That money was spent over a period of about five months by former Cub Master Nicole Taylor at various fast food restaurants in Elkhart County, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Elkhart County Superior Court 6 on March 10.

Parents of the scouts are shocked and wondering how to keep the group afloat without a year's worth of funds.

"Normally we put all of our effort into the fall fundraiser," Ann Linley, a member of the group, said. "That keeps us going and it has for many years, so it kind of catches you off guard when you lose all your money."

Now, the group will be selling popcorn again in an attempt to recoup some of its losses. It's tough to ask the boys to redo all their work, parents said, but there's not much choice.

The pack owes money to the regional council for popcorn it already sold, and it has to pay to get rechartered for this year. Then there's the money that would have gone into the boys' personal accounts.

Each year, the boys can sell enough popcorn to pay for their own uniforms, patches and camp fees so they don’t have to ask their parents for that money. It's an incentive to sell as much as they can -- and that money's gone now, too.

But "we are a really strong group," parent Miranda Phillips said. "We will get past this."

Going forward, the pack won't put the money in just one person's hands again. Now they will have a treasurer to also keep an eye on things.

And they are letting other scout groups know that this could happen to them.

"I don't think people realize the amount of money that goes through these small organizations," Linley said. "It's not five or six hundred dollars. It's thousands."

There are 15 boys in the group this year and they are great popcorn sellers, their parents said. Group members expect Taylor took more than the $5,000 they have record of because of the many cash sales that might never have made it to the pack's bank account.

Taylor was "one of us," group members said, and they don't know what motivated her to take the boys' money.

According to the affidavit, Taylor told a detective that she intended to pay the money back but was never able to do so. She was arrested and booked in the Elkhart County Jail on March 15 and later posted bail.

She is scheduled to appear in court April 2.

The pack plans to sell popcorn at Lowe's in Goshen on Saturday, March 29, and Sunday, March 30. An account called "Boy Scouts of America Pack 762 Fundraising Account" has been set up at 1st Source Bank for anyone who wishes to donate to the pack.

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks