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Maryland Girl Scouts Demand Cash After Receiving $24,000 in Bad Checks

November 2, 1990

BALTIMORE (AP) _ Some Maryland Girl Scouts got stuck with almost $24,000 in bad checks last year, so when they deliver cookies this week, they’ll be demanding cash.

″I guess Girl Scouts are just an easy mark,″ said troop leader Suzie Weiss. ″Our girls don’t ask to see IDs or credit cards or driver’s licenses. They just trust that the money’s good.″

Not any more. Bad checks and money never forwarded from individual troops cost the Central Maryland Girl Scout Council about $40,000 last year.

″That’s an awful lot of beanies, an awful lot of Girl Scout handbooks,″ council spokeswoman Sandy McLhinney said Thursday.

The council’s 23,000 Girl Scouts took orders for 1.25 million boxes of Thin Mints, Trefoils and Samoas worth about $2.8 million.

Cookie sales are the Girl Scouts’ primary fund-raising activity. Cookie money makes up more than half of the central Maryland council’s annual budget, McLhinney said.

Several troop leaders criticized the council’s decision, saying it could force young girls to carry around large amounts of cash while making their deliveries.

Troop leader Susan Donkar, who has two young daughters in the Girl Scouts, said she would not allow them to collect money by themselves. ″They would just be too easy targets,″ she said.

McLhinney said she didn’t know how many bounced checks the council received last year, but she said most of the bounced checks were for small amounts.

Deborah Mason, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of the USA in New York City, said Thursday other councils have reported similar problems with bad checks, but no one keeps a national tally of the losses.

Spokeswomen for councils in Washington and Los Angeles said Thursday they would continue to accept checks because their problems with bad checks were negligible.

But a spokeswoman in Philadelphia said the council there has had a longstanding policy of refusing checks.

The Boy Scouts of central Maryland, who raise money with popcorn sales, have had no problem with bad checks. ″Bounced checks for popcorn sales is just not that prevalent,″ said Harry Colson, a spokesman.

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