BRANDON, Fla. - Hillsborough County deputies say family of a boy, 9, put him up to stealing a woman's purse at Chuck E. Cheese's in Brandon.
It happened Tuesday around 8:30 p.m.
Deputies say Jasmine Johnson, 26, of 4410 Courtland Street, Apartment #310 in Tampa, and Chantel Jenkins, 24, of 1005 7th Avenue East in Tampa, walked into the Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant to attend a birthday party. While at the party, the suspects according to deputies, are caught on surveillance tape looking at a purse a woman set on the counter.
The video shows Johnson directing her 9-year-old nephew to grab the purse, deputies said. The child reached behind the victim and grabbed the purse off the counter, deputies added. On the video, deputies say you can see the child run to a seating area with the purse where the two suspects were seated.
"It's despicable," said Larry McKinnon with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "It is just morally wrong and this not what we as adults and we as members of the community should be educating our children to do."
Surveillance video then apparently captured Jenkins leaving the restaurant carrying the purse.
Later that evening, deputies say the victim's credit cards were fraudulently used at a local convenience store.
According to detectives, when they interviewed the 9-year-old, he admitted to taking the purse and told authorities his aunt put him up to stealing. They added that both women denied any involvement in the crime.
"They said they'd never seen the purse, never touched the purse," McKinnon explained.
Since the initial interviews, deputies have not been able to locate the women. There are now warrants out for their arrest.
"They know we are looking for them," McKinnon said.
A search of Johnson's records show she has been arrested 15 times since 2007. Charges range from aggravated battery with a deadly weapon to providing false information to a law enforcement officer.
Jenkins has two prior arrests for driving without a valid license.
Anyone with any information regarding the suspects is urged to call HCSO at 813.247.8200.
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