Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

$20 Debt and Girl Scout Cookies Turn Walmart Parking Lot Into 'Bar Room Brawl'

Girl Scout Cookies -- they make buyers bounce checks to afford them, grown men steal cash boxes from cookie stands (more than once!), troop leaders embezzle over $10,000 in cookie profits, and women attack roommates over a box of Thin Mints.

Walmart parking lots -- where apparently every crime in America is happening.

So what happens when you combine the most crime-inducing sweet treat of all time and the physical nexus of hundreds of violent crimes a year? A "bar room brawl" level melee that left tables overturned, boxes strewn on the sidewalk, and three cases of cookies destroyed. Oh and a dad went to the hospital, too.

Tarnished Tagalongs

"I've seen bizarre incidents," Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said this week. "But this one -- in front of Wal-Mart, over Girl Scout Cookies -- is right up there." When those comments come from a law enforcement official in the state of Florida, they carry some weight. And Staly isn't wrong. Here are some juicy details from the Daytona News-Journal:

  • "When deputies arrived, Thomas Ketchum Sr., 49, of Palm Coast was lying on his back complaining of chest pains he said he suffered during the attack. He told deputies he was recovering from open heart surgery he underwent just three days before the incident."
  • "[Daniel] Kennedy, his brother and their mother, Erin, told deputies they confronted the Girl Scout team at the cookie table over $20 they said Ketchum's daughter owed them. Ketchum's 47-year-old wife, Lisa, and another Palm Coast woman were present, and told the Kennedy family they could not pay them. That's when the Kennedys demanded to be paid in cookies instead."
  • "Lisa Ketchum said Daniel Kennedy then began throwing punches to intimidate them. That's when her husband emerged from the store and grabbed the brothers' shopping cart to keep them from leaving before officers arrived. He said Daniel Kennedy pushed him away and began punching him. Thomas Ketchum suffered a sprained neck and shoulder and was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler to be treated."
  • "Two women who were driving by during the incident also spoke to deputies. One of them, 18-year-old Gabrielle Boos, told officers she jumped out of their car, ran across the parking lot and began striking Kennedy as he attacked Lisa Ketchum until he let her go."
  • "Flagler County sheriff's deputies described a chaotic scene that left a table flipped over and boxes of Girl Scout Cookies scattered across the sidewalk outside the east entrance to Wal-Mart."

Disturbance Do-si-dos

Daniel Kennedy, 18, was charged with three counts of simple battery and one count of disorderly conduct. His 16-year-old brother (unnamed because he's a juvenile) was also charged with one count of simple battery and one count of disorderly conduct. Proving, once again, that destroying a Girl Scout Cookie stand is the wrong way to go about debt collection.

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