CRIME

Charles County Girl Scout troop's goal thwarted by attempted theft

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A Charles County Girl Scouts troop was just $400 shy of their $10,000 goal when a man allegedly attempted to rob them.

Deputies arrested James Ernest Wright, 48, Sunday evening after he tried to rob Troop 5819 as they sold cookies in the 3200 block of Plaza Way, the sheriff's office says.

According to investigators, a man and woman, who appeared to be intoxicated, approached the Temple Hills group around 6 p.m. As the female suspect pushed the cookies off the table, the male suspect reached for the money envelope. 

"And as soon as I said, 'Put that down, step back from our table,' he got angry and lunged toward my daughter," Troop leader Shelli Harris recalled.

Harris, who is disabled, says she was shoved into a brick wall as she tried to protect her 10-year-old daughter.

Police, as well as the father of a scout, who is a federal police officer, were called to the scene.

The father found the suspect and tried to detain him, but the man resisted. The federal police officer was soon joined by a responding Charles County officer, who arrested the suspect.

The girls were raising $10,000 for a trip to Disney World, the troop leader explained. The troop of seven had already raised $9,600 and thought they were going to meet their goal that night. But after the alleged crime, they couldn't continue selling cookies.

"Why would you want to rob some Girl Scouts? It doesn't make any sense," said 17-year-old troop member Kierra Lee. "It's really undecided with a lot of the girls if they want to do boot sales again next year, because they're scared something like this might happen again."

Wright is charged with attempted robbery, theft and disorderly conduct.

Authorities are working to identify the female suspect.

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