Florida Shoplifter Leaves Baby Behind - Legally Weird
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Florida Shoplifter Leaves Baby Behind

Writing for Legally Weird is frequently weird and often funny. For example: the recent case of a shoplifter who stole clothes from a retailer, wore them to an interview at the same store, and then stole more clothes on the way out. However, the case of a Florida shoplifter who shoplifted with her baby and then ditched the baby in order to make her escape is simply sad.

Two Florida women were allegedly stealing items from JCPenney's junior department on July 31. They made their escape successfully. Well, except for the fact that they left behind a 10-month old child. The mother, Crystal Whitaker, 23, was arrested and charged with violating child abuse laws. Specifically, she was charged with child abuse without great harm, child neglect without causing great harm, contributing to the delinquency of a dependent and theft, The Palm Beach Post reports.

According to the police, Crystal Whitaker and an unnamed 16-year-old girl allegedly entered a dressing room with clothes from JCPenney and left with the merchandise, valued at $256, hidden in a JCPenney bag, The Palm Beach Post reports. An employee who suspected the pair tried to stop them, but they ran and made it outside before they could be caught. On the sidewalk outside the store, the pair allegedly left behind the stolen items, Whitaker's purse complete with identification, and a 10-month-old child. The baby and the 16-year-old were taken inside. The 16-year-old denied any involvement with the alleged theft. Social services picked up the child.

Child abuse laws are no laughing matter as child abuse is a serious crime that can lead not only to incarceration but losing legal rights to a child. Penalties vary greatly from state to state. In many states, particular individuals and caregivers are required to report suspected child abuse.

Here's hoping that either this mother gets her act together or social services can find a loving family that will take care of the child.

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