SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A man who admitted to stealing money from Girl Scouts outside a Clairemont grocery store was sentenced to one year in a residential treatment facility Friday.
Erik Mullen, 28, plead guilty to stealing more than $400 outside the Vons store in the Clairemont Town Square shopping center on Clairemont Drive on March 12. He dropped his cell phone as he fled, officials said.
A plea deal helped Mullen avoid a harsher sentence on felony identity theft charges.
The money stolen was collected in a cash box by Girl Scouts selling cookies in front of the store. Before handing down the ruling, the judge told Mullen, "don't mess with the Girl Scouts."
During the investigation, officials said they discovered Mullen used the money from the cash box to purchase heroin on Craigslist.
Mullen pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor theft charges, as well as felony identity theft, on March 23.
Judge to Girl Scout cookie thief at sentencing: "don't mess with the Girl Scouts" @10News
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The previous day, Mullen stole a purse from a woman at a restaurant, according to Deputy District Attorney Kimball Denton. His accomplice, Brandi Wright, later tried to cash a check from the purse at a MoneyTree location. Wright also pleaded guilty to felony identity theft.
Wright was sentenced to 180 days in a residential treatment facility.
At Friday's hearing, the judge said that Mullen and Wright could have a bright future if they stay committed to staying sober.
The Girl Scout who was victimized by Mullen, Leyla Hayward, told 10News, "After he gets out, I hope he has a good life and learned his lesson not to steal or do any other bad stuff."