Woman robbed while selling Girl Scout cookies speaks out


Rosa Bennett is counting her blessings. She's thankful that she and her 12-year-old daughter weren't hurt when they were robbed by a man with a gun while selling Girl Scout cookies.

"My daughter's been in Girl Scouts for five years," Bennett said. "And this has never, ever happened before."

KTVU spoke to Bennett shortly after she helped Union City police create a sketch of the teenage robber.

It was about 5 p.m. Wednesday when the stranger came up to their table outside the Safeway store on Decoto Road and made small talk about the cookies. He came back a short while later, cursed at Bennett and showed her a gun in his waistband.

"But he didn't take it out all the way, but just pulled it up so I could see it," Bennett said. "I guess for me to see that he wasn't kidding."

The robber grabbed money from Bennett's purse and fled. Luckily, her daughter was out near the car getting more boxes and was directly confronted.

As they investigated the case, Union City police felt they needed to do more than just a report.

Officers gathered about $1,000 in donations, replacing the money she lost and buying all the unsold boxes of cookies.

"It really hit home with them," said Lt. Travis Souza. "Most of our officers have children, including myself, and when they heard of this situation, they all wanted to contribute in some form or fashion, to make things better."

Said Bennett with a smile: "They bought a lot!"

Many people have been showing up at the Police Department to donate.

John Gibson of Fremont was among them.

"This is something that just tore my heart out," Gibson said. "The child and her mother have to recover from a lot of trauma."

Another donor handed over a few $20 bills during the KTVU interview. 

"While you guys were talking, another gentleman just left the lobby, and he handed me this money to give to you, because his heart went out to you, with what you experienced," Souza told Bennett.

"Thank you so much. We really appreciate it."

Heather Burlew-Hayden, Girl Scouts spokeswoman said, "We've been incredibly lucky. This community here in Northern California is great. The police stepped up, did a lot of things and went above and beyond for this family."

Bennett said, "I'm very hopeful that they find this guy. I mean, I don't want things to happen again to other moms."

That's a sentiment shared by Amanda Delauter, the mother of a Girl Scout who stopped by the organization's Alameda headquarters to pick up cookies.

"It definitely makes me think differently, because this is our first year. So knowing that people are willing to do that, when kids are around, it's frightening."