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Kids: Partners in Crime

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When children come along on shoplifting sprees, it's like "Take Your Child to Work Day"--but with guns.

Last week, a man shot and killed a 7-Eleven clerk while holding his 2-year-old son. Some criminal parents like this one can't be bothered to book a babysitter before a crime spree--so they just take their kids along on their real-life "cops and robbers" adventure. In many cases, kids as young as 2 are used as decoys or are forced to be unwitting accomplices to shoplifting, bank robbing--even murder.

Here are just a few of the recent cases that made our blood boil:


As mentioned above, 27-year-old Jermaine Canada walked into a 7-Eleven holding a 2-year-old child and shot and killed a clerk. A 6-year-old accompanying them also witnessed the shooting. Video

20-year-old Rachanda Arvizu and her 15-year-old cousin (both pregnant) broke into a neighbors' apartment. When the neighbor returned from home, the thieves fled--leaving Rachanda's 2-year-old son behind.

41-year-old Christine Brown stole $375 of merchandise from Sears, forcing her own kids--ages 5, 9, and 10--to wear some of the stolen clothing out of the store.

22-year-old Melissa Blankenship and 30-year-old Alicia Metcalf used their kids as decoys when they shoplifted $687 worth of merchandise from Kohl's. They took clothing from hangers and placed the garments underneath their children, who were sitting in shopping carts.

Two unidentified women stole merchandise from a Beall's department store with their four children in tow. The women are still at large.

26-year-old Rhonda Yvette Brooks brought her five kids along while she stole $584 of merchandise from Wal-Mart.

32-year-old Yumay C. Guardado took her 12-year-old daughter shoplifting at a Target--not once, but twice.

26-year-old April Robinson and 26-year-old Tarshesha Ross stole $61.13 worth of merchandise from K-Mart. The twist? They recruited their 2- and 4-year-olds to place the stolen goods in the rear of their stroller.

Two mothers had seven kids with them when they allegedly went on a shoplifting spree at Kohl's. Video

42-year-old grandmother Monica Vitale used her 4-year-old granddaughter to help her shoplift from Sears. At one point, Vitale was seen taking a stolen blanket out of her handbag and handing it to the girl, who placed it into her toy baby stroller and put the hood up to shield it from view.


25-year-old Jessica Schotter allegedly drove the getaway car in an armed robbery while her 4-year-old son was in the vehicle.

When Daniel Young decided to hold up a bank, he thought he'd hold up his son (on his hip) at the same time. He cradled his 2-year-old son in his arms as he robbed the Suntrust Bank. Now that's multi-tasking.

Experts say exposing kids to a life of crime will scar them forever. "Children are forever the students of their parents," says momlogic contributor family therapist Shannon Fox. "They learn more from their parents' actions than their words. These criminal parents are raising career criminals. The children are being trained to lead lives of deception."

How could a parent do such a thing? "The world-view of a criminal is qualitatively different than a law-abiding citizen," Dr. Fox continues. "Most parents teach our kids to go to a police officer in am emergency--these kids learn from an early age to fear and avoid cops and to disregard rules and authority."

What do you think of parents who take their kids on crime sprees?


next: Lots of Kisses Make You Fat
31 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous August 14, 2008, 11:03 AM

these parents are seriously pathetic. take their kids away!

WAHM Tara August 14, 2008, 8:50 PM

I just do not understand why any parent in their right mind would subject their children to that kind of behavior. I mean, robing a bank is crazy enough, but doing it with your baby on your hip is a shameless act of selfishness. I hope these parents not only get charged with their crimes but also charged with endangering their children.

Anonymous August 15, 2008, 7:36 AM

I swore in front of my son and he repeated me! I felt like the worst mom ever. I cant imagine doing this myself, let alone involving my kids.

Just a quick side note on the title of the story, “Like take your kids to work day…only with guns.” I get your point and am sure your comment was meant to be harmless, but guns arent bad. I am from a country home and a long line of serious hunters. I learned from an extremely early age how to handle a gun, gun safety, and proper uses for a gun, and so has my son. He will grow up loving and respecting firearms and the art of shooting. He will also grow up knowing to be a law abiding citizen.

ashley August 15, 2008, 8:14 AM

I think this is terrible. This is why we have so many more young criminals, girls fighting, etc. My husband and I used to fight ALOT. He was suffering from a substance abuse problem. (He’s been clean for a year now). Our son is 6 1/2 now. So when he turned 4 I told my husband, we have to stop because he is going to grow up thinking this behavior is ok and treat his wife like this. My hubby is clean and sober now, thank God, and we have a wonderful relationship now and a beautiful baby girl. I was always so worried about how much of it he was taking in. He’s a great kid though and he knows right from wrong and now he has a much better example to follow.

Racy August 15, 2008, 10:06 AM

Only one thing to say…some people just should not be parents…EVER!

C.M August 15, 2008, 11:59 AM

The whole situation is sad.No child should have to be placed in that enviroment.It’s one thing to steal,but to teach your child?Wouldn’t you want your child to go on to be a better person than you?

Sandra Deffner August 15, 2008, 1:12 PM

My own niece use her childs stroller while he was in it and her 9 year old was walking beside it to steal his cold medicine and photos and a whole lot more from the store … she called it her” gaff mobile “and thought it was a huge joke to get her teen friends ( she was over 21)together and go steal things she didnt think she should have ot buy … she talked about doing it one day when I was with her and I told her I would tell on her if she did it when I was there ….her b/f would tell her not to do it too but they stole from his job hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of things and brought them home to the kids …. worse part it she knew most of the people at her as she called it ” my favorite store to gaff ” I have to shop there since it is near my home but I hate that I was ever seen with her in that store cause even thou im a older person and Im not a thief they might think I use my childs stroller to steal too ….. and she claimed that her children didnt know she was stealing …..

Kawa August 16, 2008, 7:00 PM

Have any of these thieves been caught? They should lose their children, but hopefully to a caring, honest, family member who does understand how important it is to be a law abiding citizen. Because with being raised by their biological criminals like those, these poor children might need the an officer one day to protect them from their own parents.

G. ALAN September 5, 2008, 2:53 PM

Maybe the parents of the parents are also to blame?

p.s One of the above is my niece.

Sachelle February 24, 2009, 2:41 PM

They forgot to mention the man from Philly who beat another man with a hammer on the train. His son watched the beating. These parents are pathetic and Karma is a mother……..

Anonymous February 27, 2009, 11:44 PM

wow im speechless

Chris September 15, 2010, 9:10 PM

Sorry to dig up an old topic. I went to school with Jessica Schotter in pocono mountain high..Spanish class, first period. She moved away to texas (Fort hood) in like 9th grade, and her and I were penpals for a couple of years after that; I dont remember how we lost contact, I think each of us moved around too many times - plus the fact that I was dating this really trashy girl didnt help matters.
She was always really nice, really pretty too. And I liked her, I never thought she would be the kind of person to turn to drugs and robbery.
On the other pages that have her mugshot, I remember her always raising one eyebrow.

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