Police looking for mom and dad using kid to steal from unsuspecting shoppers

Posted at 5:03 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 18:02:22-04

Winter Haven investigators are looking for two adults who are using a young child to steal from unsuspecting shoppers.

The latest case happened at a Winter Haven Walmart. The victim, a disabled woman in a motorized cart, had her purse in the bottom of the cart.

Police said the two adults distracted her while the young boy reached in and snatched the purse and then ran.

“As soon as the male suspect diverted the attention of the victim, she noticed a shadow under her legs,” said Jamie Brown, Spokesperson for the Winter Haven Police Department.

Police believe it was all planned out.

The child is seen on surveillance video running out of the store with the purse. The two adults walk out in a more nonchalant manner.

All three left in the same car.

“They are grooming him to become a career criminal if we don’t get him off the street,” Brown said.

Later in the day, investigators caught the male suspect on surveillance using the credit cards they stole at a different store.

This isn’t the first time, either. Police believe the three pulled the same shenanigans at least one other store on an unsuspected shopper in Lakeland.

If you have any information on who the suspects are, you are asked to call the Winter Haven Police Department.