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.