Pennsylvania scout leader charged

Pennsylvania scout leader charged

A Montgomery County woman is accused of stealing more than $10,000 from Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts she was supposed to be helping.

The cub scouts range in age from 7 to 10. They are taught about honor and respect and how to be self-sufficient to afford to be able to do things.

“If you wanna do these other activities that you need to go out and earn that,” said Jim Callahan, Cub Master for Pack 27.

According to police, 30-year-old Heather Belford taught them an all different lesson.

Belford allegedly cleaned out their Cub Scout bank account and that of Girl Scout Troop 7343. Both groups meet at Oaks Elementary School in Upper Providence Township, reports FOX News.

“In the end we found that the Cub Scouts had lost over $3,000 and the Girl Scouts had lost over $7,000,” said Det. Sgt. Ray Bechtel.

Belford is accused of using that card to take money out of an ATM or to pocket the money from other sales.

She is accused of stealing $3,411.28 from Cub Scout Pack 27 and $7,318.88 from Girl Scout Troop 7343 and the Girl Scouts of America of Eastern Pennsylvania.

The 18 members of Pack 27 had worked all year to raise the money.

“We sold lots of popcorn, we sold some spirit cups,” said Dylan Callahan, Cub Scout.

Police say Belford accessed the funds through her position with the organizations.

“My son said it best that it was very sad to know that they worked very hard for all of this and to have it, in a matter of days, taken away from them,” said Cub Master Callaghan.

Belford was said not to be home when Action news went to get her side of the story.

However in an apparent act of remorse, parents say she gave back 35 pinewood derby car kits.

“I don’t know what she was gonna do with 35 cars when she already stole all the money to buy makeup. It just makes me so mad,” said Marcie Callaghan, Tiger Leader.

Belford has been charged with multiple counts of theft and related offenses. She was released on $5,000 unsecured bail. She has a hearing scheduled for next month.

“In this case, she has stolen from children,” alleged Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele. “This is money that the Cub Scouts use for Pinewood Derby, for camping trips, for a day camp. Right now, there’s a Cub Scout pack that does not have any funds to be able to participate in those activities. It’s my understanding that she wiped out the funds for the Cub Scouts.”

The district attorney’s office will seek restitution. However in the meantime, both troops are in need of help.

“We’re going to be seeking restitution in this case. We’re going to be seeking to get back their money, but that’s a long-term fix to this problem,” Steele said. “The theft is impacting the Cub Scouts ability to engage in their youth programs.”

Steele urged anyone willing to help the organizations financially with donations in the short term should contact Cub Scout Pack 27 at pack27cubmaster@gmail.com or the Girl Scouts at www.gsep.org/community/support-girl-scouts.php

Furthermore, if any youth group volunteers would like fraud prevention training they can receive information on the District Attorney’s website.