Union City police released a sketch of a robber accused of stealing cash at gunpoint from a mom and her 12-year-old daughter selling Girl Scout cookies Wednesday in front of a Safeway store.
Police are describing the suspect as a 16- to 19-year-old black male, 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall and thin. He was allegedly wearing dark clothing, including a hooded sweatshirt.
The robbery occurred outside the Safeway store at 1790 Decoto Road.
Spokeswoman with Girl Scouts of Northern California Heather Burlew-Hayden said the sale of cookies is a way for the girls to earn money to do projects toward their gold award and activities such as camping and
The gold award is equivalent to the Boy Scouts eagle award.
"So, it's pretty critical for the troops to sell cookies and earn money to achieve their goals," Burlew-Hayden said.
The projects include anything from building a maternity ward in a developing country to making blankets for animals in animal shelters.
"Girls learn service, civic responsibility and all of that money comes from cookie sales," Burlew-Hayden said.
The two victims Wednesday received an outpouring of support from the community, including police.
Police officers reached into their own wallets to cover the loss. Members of the Union City Police Officers Association purchased all of the remaining cookies.
In all, police donated about $1,000 to the scout. Burlew-Hayden said people on social media offered support as well.
"It was really incredibly powerful," she said.
The suspect allegedly approached the scout and her mom about buying cookies. He left and allegedly returned with a gun to take the cash. Neither the scout nor her mom was injured in the robbery.
Burlew-Hayden said the robbery hasn't deterred them from selling cookies. They're telling other girls to "be vigilant and not give up."
This is the second reported cookie crime in less than a week involving Girl Scouts. A 9-year-old girl in Philadelphia was reportedly robbed while selling cookies in front of her home on Saturday.