Suffolk County police say they have received at least 11 reports from residents who purchased Girl Scout Cookies earlier this year but got nothing — not even crumbs — for their dough.
And now the Girl Scouts, who worked with police to alert the public to the scam, are donating the iconic treats to those who lost money.
Suffolk police said the incidents occurred between February and May in Patchogue, Shirley, Lake Ronkonkoma; Bohemia and Mastic and were reported to authorities between Saturday and Monday. The money was given to a man who accompanied a young girl during some of the incidents, while in others, the girl acted alone.
“I’m not worried about the money, I’m worried about what they are teaching the child,” said Kevin Zasowski of Patchogue, who said he paid $20 for four boxes of cookies on April 22 that he never received.
The Girl Scout Council of Suffolk County, which received complaints about the scam and saw others on social media, said it will provide cookies to anybody who placed a bogus order with the adult cookie seller and his young accomplice “because nothing is more disappointing than not getting your Girl Scout Cookies.”
“The Girl Scout Council of Suffolk County was saddened to learn that somebody would use the inherent good will of the Girl Scouts to take money from their neighbors under false pretenses,” the organization said in a statement.
“We are working with law enforcement and would encourage anyone who believes they were a victim of this scam to contact the Suffok County police to file a report,” the Girl Scouts added.
The Village Of Patchogue posted the Girl Scouts' statement on its website, and social media postings from other individuals suggest the scammers found several victims in that community.
Zasowski said the girl seemed legitimate because she had photocopies of cookie boxes and carried what seemed to be order forms, although she was not wearing a uniform.
The Girl Scouts of Suffolk County said legitimate cookie sales start just before New Year’s Day and end at the end of April or early May. Anyone selling cookies after that, the statement said, is not representing the council. Girl Scouts selling cookies who do not have the goods immediately available will not ask for money upfront.
“Anyone recording a sale in a makeshift book and taking money is not accurately representing Girl Scouts of Suffolk County,” the statement said.
Police are investigating the incidents to determine if they are connected. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim should call 631-852-COPS.