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Former Girl Scout volunteer accused of stealing thousands surrenders

| Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 4:09 p.m.
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday, July 3, 2013, accused Theresa Gatto, 44, of West View of stealing nearly $5,000 from a bank account for a Girl Scout summer camp program. Gatto has worked as a volunteer for the Girl Scouts.

A former Girl Scout volunteer in the North Hills who is accused of stealing nearly $5,000 from a summer camp bank account surrendered on Wednesday, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office said.

Theresa Gatto, 44, of West View was arraigned on one theft charge. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 14.

Gatto told investigators that questionable purchases made with money from the account were for camp or other Scout-related activities, according to an affidavit. She could not remember the purpose of some purchases and admitted using the account to buy herself two tickets to Kennywood, the affidavit said.

Gatto did not return calls seeking comment.

“I'm shocked,” said Bonnie Janeda, who volunteered with Gatto. “To find that she would do something like this was very upsetting and disappointing.”

Janeda said she has not talked to Gatto since confronting her with concerns about the bank account.

Gatto stopped volunteering with the Girl Scouts in 2011. Since 2004, she had run a summer camp for the 15 to 18 troops in West View and Perrysville and managed a PNC Bank account to pay for camp expenses, according to the affidavit.

Each Girl Scout paid $40 to attend camp, $25 of which went into the account to pay for patches, lifeguards, facilities and supplies for activities. Troops kept the remaining money to buy food for the weekend-long camp.

When Gatto left the Girl Scouts, volunteers checked the account balance and found just $38.67, the affidavit said.

Bank statements provided to the volunteers and investigators showed Gatto used the account to buy gift cards at Giant Eagle. She wrote checks for more than the amount purchased, signed checks payable to cash and wrote checks to herself, according to the affidavit. In all, Gatto stole about $4,818 from the account, authorities said.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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