Girl Scouts, mothers help catch thieves

HOUSTON - A Girl Scout troop and its mothers stopped shoplifters from getting away with several thousand of dollars in stolen goods.

The troop set up a booth to sell their Girl Scout cookies at an HEB grocery store on Nelson Way in Katy, when members said they noticed a suspicious man wheeling a cart out the store doors. 

Mary Mathews, whose daughter is a troop member, said the man's cart had loose items and nothing was placed in HEB plastic or paper bags. So the group kept the man in its sights.

"He had pushed his cart back into the corner like he was hiding from us," said Mary Matthews.

"He was stealing a lot of stuff," said Girl Scout Hailey Matthews.

The troop said the suspect then pushed the cart across the parking lot to his car. Mary Matthews said by that time they were convinced the man was stealing, so they told an HEB employee.

HEB store service director Denise Villarreal said the troop was right. Villarreal said the man actually had an accomplice and together they were caught stealing about $2,000 worth of goods, including wine, appliances and groceries. Villarreal said she called police and officers arrested the men.

"We caught the bad guy," said Hailey.

The troop also got a surprising thank you from HEB. Employees bought box after box of Girl Scout cookies.

"I was excited that she bought $100 worth of cookies," said Hailey.

"We're just really thankful that somebody was here and honest enough to tell somebody that could actually do something about it," said Villarreal.

"That was a really big boost for the girls," said Mary.

A troop photo hangs in the store as a sign of the connection the girls share with the store employees.

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