San Francisco-area police bought $600 worth of Girl Scout cookies after a girl scout and her mother were robbed at gunpoint.
The incident occurred on Feb. 8 outside a Safeway grocery store. Officials said a 12-year-old girl and her mother were victims of an armed robbery, San Francisco Gate reported.
The suspect is believed to be a male teenager. He approached a Girl Scout's cookie booth with a handgun and demanded cash from the girl and her mother, police said.
The robbery left neighbors and residents in Union City, California, in shock.
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"Why would someone do that?" Bhawana Singh, the mother of a Girl Scout, asked KGO-TV. "Someone that is hurting, must not be in the right state of mind."
"It's real sick," added Craig Harper, a customer of the Girl Scouts. "On 1 to 10, it's a 12."
Union City police are now looking for the suspect. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, and is reportedly somewhere between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall.
"I mean, we see all kinds of awful things, but this is horrible," said Lisa Gratez of the Union City Police Department. "This is bad."
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The victims declined requests for interviews and instead asked the Girl Scouts organization to speak on their behalf.
"They are very emotional," said Heather Berlew-Hayden of the Girl Scouts of Northern California. "Very concerned about the safety of other people doing this."
After the robbery, police officers knew they had to do something. They bought $600 worth of Girl Scout cookies, buying out the girl's entire stock.
“As far as cookies are concerned, we pretty much got everything that they had -- Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, the whole bunch,” said Sgt. Steve Mendez, a police department spokesman.
“As far as the response from our officers, it’s been awesome. I’ve been here for 27 1/2 years, and I’ve never seen a response from a whole patrol staff this genuine,” Mendez added. “A lot of our officers have young kids, either in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, so a lot of them have been there, sitting outside stores with their daughters -- it hit home for them quite a bit.”