Two New Jersey women are accused of multiple robberies, starting on June 26, in which they enlisted a child to help them steal from several Hudson County stores. In all, they are believed to have stolen $3,000.
According to police, the women entered at least six businesses, then distracted the employees, allowing a 7-year-old girl to sneak in and steal from behind the register. Police call the tactic “diversion theft.”
Police say that in one incident, the child stole an employees wallet, then was able to open the store’s cash register, demonstrating knowledge about operating the device.
“This juvenile seems to know exactly where to go,” Capt. Joseph Scerbo, of the Bayonne Police Department, said.
Many of the stores utilized surveillance video, with enough footage to allow police to create good descriptions of the women. An off-duty officer recognized them on Monday, and he notified Bayonne Police.
Police arrested Sonia Sykes, 20 and Desmone Stevens, 20. Police say the 7-year-old child is not related to either adult.
The girl’s mother was notified of the crime spree, and she was surprised, according to authorities, who have involved the New Jersey Division of Child Placement and Permanency. The child will receive rehabilitation, reported CBS New York.
Charges against the adults include theft, endangering the welfare of a child, and using a child to commit an offense. Police are investigating whether any of the group of thieves participated in crimes at other locations.
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