Former scout leader accused of stealing thousands from 2 differe - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Former scout leader accused of stealing thousands from 2 different groups

Deanna Merrifield-Fox. (Source: Gibson County Jail) Deanna Merrifield-Fox. (Source: Gibson County Jail)

A former scout leader has been arrested in Gibson County after an investigation that began in November. 

28-year old Deanna Merrifield-Fox is charged with two counts of theft, accused of stealing thousands from Princeton Cub Scout Pack 222 and the Lowell School PTO.

In both of those organizations, Deanna Merrifield-Fox held positions where she had access to all of the funds. Police say she used the organizations check books to write herself checks to cash.

"She's 28 years old. When I talked to her she said she had fallen on some hard times and she would write checks for cash out of that, and it just got out of control," Princeton Police Detective Mike Hurt said.

Det. Hurt says the investigation began last November when the Lowell PTO reported $1,800 missing. Merrifield-Fox had been serving as treasurer.  

Two months later, the Princeton Cub Scout Pack 222 also went to police after an audit revealed nearly $6,000 in mismanaged funds.  

"I did interview Deanna Merrifield-Fox and she came in and confessed to the cub scout troop money," Det. Hurt said. "However, when I asked her to come back for another interview, she didn't show up for the Lowell PTO one. However, she did go and pay the money back that day to Lowell PTO. She wrote a check to them."

Police documents show Merrifield-Fox wrote checks to herself to cash, for meals and shopping trips. The money was raised from cub scout popcorn sales and donations.

"Any form of theft from a non for profit organization is critical to how it impacts a program, and this case is no different," said John Harding, Scout Executive.

Merrifield-Fox also wrote a letter to the cub scout leaders saying she had taken over the pack when no one else wanted to do it and that it was a very thankless job.

She went on to say she always planned to put the money back.

"This is a rarity. This doesn't happen too often and it's tragic when something likes this takes place," Harding said.

Merrifield-fox bonded out of jail on Tuesday.

As for the cub scouts, they did get some good news. Trails End has agreed to ship popcorn to the cub scouts to sell this spring in hopes of recouping the thousands of dollars lost.

100 percent of proceeds will go to the Princeton Cub Scouts.

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