Girl Scout Cookie Dad says vandalism isn't fakeon March 5, 2013 @ 1:15 pm (Updated: 5:45 pm - 3/5/13 )
reported vandals destroyed $2500 worth of Girl Scout cookies was a hoax.
Jeff Brown, the "Cookie Dad" of his troop, told Dori that his wife woke up in the middle of the night when she heard a crash. That's when they discovered teenage vandals trashing their garage.
Deanna, Jeff's wife, was just in time to see the vandals fleeing the scene. She called the police at 3 a.m. and they arrived with K9 units to track down the suspects, but tracks went cold next door.
She told reporters that the vandals had poured oil, soap, and paint over dozens of boxes of Girl Scout cookies the family was holding for their troop. They also broke toys, Christmas ornaments, and tools. She said she thought the vandals were looking for money and turned to trashing the garage when they couldn't find it.
The story went viral as people all over social media expressed their sympathy for the family. But Dori thought the story was bogus.
First, the Everett Herald reported incorrectly that the family only called 911 at 3 p.m. Sunday, 12 hours after the break-in was discovered. Dori saw that as a major hole in the story.
Dori also thought it was odd that the Brown family blamed teenage vandals, and that they said specifically that they must have been looking for money in the garage. It didn't make any sense to Dori that burglars would look in the garage for money, then trash the place instead of stealing tools or other valuables.
"That was the big thing for me: they didn't find money, so they opened cans of paint and oil and threw it all over the boxes of Girl Scout cookies," said Dori. "And again, I'm trying to imagine burglars who are looking for stuff - I don't know if they have a drug habit or something - why would they randomly vandalize?"
But when Dori made his case, dozens of friends of the Brown family, Monroe residents, and even show fans took to Facebook to tell Dori to apologize.
So Jeff set the record straight. It was just his guess that the vandals were looking for money. But from their clothes, his wife had thought the burglars were teens; police also said it was typical of teen burglars to trash a home if they couldn't find what they were looking for, which Dori had thought was illogical.
"If you have an adult who's breaking in to your house to steal money, they're going to get in and out of your house as fast as possible, take what they can of value, and leave," said Jeff. "With kids, it's different."
To top it off, the time of the 911 call had been misreported, making it seem like Jeff and his wife waited 12 hours to call the police.
Explaining the story, Jeff could see how Dori might think it was a hoax. He said the half-hour interviews he gave were condensed to five minutes. Some of the details got lost.
"We're not asking for anything. We're not asking for money, we won't be asking for money. We have homeowner's insurance that pays for this stuff," said Jeff. "It's not the crime of the century, so we were surprised to see it blow up nationally."
Dori realized he might be wrong, but he noted that it's his job to be skeptical; all other news outlets took the report at face value. And since Dori has heard so many bad stories and reported on people who get showered with money by the community after stories of bullying or vandalism hit the news, he doubted the Browns' story.
"I put all that skepticism together, I expressed it on-air, and it came across," said Dori, "as very personal against you and your wife. And I would like to apologize to you and your wife for expressing my skepticism. I don't regret doing it because that's what I do for a living, but I also get that, on a personal level, how it came across to you and your family and I apologize for that very sincerely."
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.