Police say a Madison County man took money and orders for Boy Scout popcorn but never delivered the goods.
He’s been charged with felony theft.
Jakob Bottoms, 31, of Cottage Hills, had been pretending to sell Boy Scout popcorn with a minor in September, said Collinsville Police Detective Mark Kuechle. After a resident told police she had yet to receive her order, police opened an investigation.
Police were able to identify Bottoms because he told the first complainant his name, Kuechle said.
The boy accompanying Bottoms was wearing a Boy Scout uniform, and the two had official order forms, police said. The person who first informed the Collinsville Police Department about the scam said that Bottoms had asked for the check to be filled out to him, saying that he would have to write the Boys Scouts one large check at the end of the fundraising campaign.
The child, who was active in the Scouts at the time, had no knowledge of the crime, Kuechle added. Police declined to give specifics on Bottoms’ connection to the child.
Seven other people also have not received their orders, according to police. Kuechle estimates the losses are around $300, but he suspects there could be “quite a bit more than that.”
Madison County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Bottoms with three counts of theft, class 4 felonies. A class 4 felony typically is punishable by up to three years in prison.
The Lewis & Clark Boy Scout Council issued a statement: “As a character-based organization, we are saddened to hear that someone would use the brand of Scouting to engage in illegal activity as this stands in stark contrast to our values.”
Bottoms was not yet in custody as of Tuesday afternoon. Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli set bail at $50,000.
The Collinsville Police Department is asking anyone who gave Bottoms money or anyone who knows his location to call 618-344-2131, Ext. 0.