NJ cheerleading squad regroups after major theft

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A New Jersey cheerleading squad is trying to recover after a major theft. (WPVI)

A South Jersey cheerleading squad is taking its first steps on the long road back after a member of the organization's board was arrested for stealing more than $9,000 from the group.

The New Jersey Force Cheer team held a fundraiser Monday night in an effort to rally a comeback.

A comeback is needed after Mount Laurel police arrested 44-year-old Janene Hamilton for stealing the money from the group.

Hamilton, a board member, also has a daughter on the squad.

"We use the money in part to purchase uniforms, for practice space, for competitions, for music," coach Sherie Shuster said.

According to investigators, Hamilton told police her purse was stolen back on August 30 and had nearly $5,000 in it.

That money belonged to the cheer association.

But police say, Hamilton made up the story and allege she actually stole $9,000 over the last nine months.

Action News tried to speak with Hamilton at her home Monday night, but no one came to the door.

Now, the young cheerleaders are trying to replace the money.

They held a fundraiser at Rita's Water Ice in Marlton, trying to turn around a bad situation.

"It's very important especially with everything going on. I hope it works out for the best because these girls deserve nothing but the best," former squad member Allesyn Stearn said.

Parents of the cheerleaders say they are determined to keep this squad together because it means so much to the girls.

"We were shaken, but our first meeting afterwards, I said this could actually be something that's going to bring us even closer and I really do believe that it has," parent Jen Stevens said.

As Janene Hamilton is facing some severe criticism from many, her daughter is not. The cheerleader was welcomed with open arms by her team and joined in the fundraising efforts.
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