Elkhart community helps cub scout pack after $5000 theft

Elkhart, Ind. Santa's Pantry and the Pay it Forward 4-H Club hosted a chili dinner in Elkhart Friday night to help replace funds that a former Cub Scout leader stole from her own pack.

Nicole Taylor, former Cubmaster of Pack 762, was arrested March 15, accused of stealing more than $5000 that the scouts had raised that year selling popcorn.

"We spend weeks going door to door, doing sales outside of stores, anything we can with the hope that we only have to have one fundraiser," said Ann Linley, Committee Chair of Pack 762.

Linley said the theft left the group without any means to pay its expenses, including membership fees and summer programs for which the boys had worked hard to raise money this fall.

"I felt pretty sad," said Cub Scout Matthew Barkow. "We all need some of the money to get uniforms, to go to resident camp, all the camps."

The folks at Santa's Pantry heard the pack's story and offered to help raise the money they need.

"These scouts, they've come out to different events that we've had and they've helped us," said Santa's Pantry Director Debbie Micola. "So it really hit home on this one so we wanted to help them out."

Donations came in from local boy and girl scout packs, restaurants, businesses and community members who helped supply the chili ingredients, plates and silverware, as well as monetary donations. Those who attended the dinner were asked to give a donation towards Pack 762.

"Sometimes boy scouts get in the paper for all the wrong reasons, and we started off that way, but now we're getting into the paper for all the right reasons," Linley said. "It shows that Elkhart really cares about scouting and it really cares about its kids."

The event raised $676, putting the pack on track to cover its costs this year, Linley said.

And the scouts apear very grateful for all of the help.

"I don't know how many times we've heard 'thank you' from them," said Micola.

According to News Center16's reporting partner, The Elkhart Truth, Nicole Taylor spent the money at several fast food restaurants and supermarkets. She also withdrew money from ATMs.

Taylor appeared in court April 2 and she is charged with Class D felony theft. Her next hearing is on June 25.

For anyone wishing to donate to the pack, an account named "Boy Scouts of America Pack 762 Fundraising Account" has been set up at 1st Source Bank.

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