CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga.,None - Two adults in two separate cases are behind bars after police say they used children to help them shoplift.
Rosa Hightower, 34, and Joelle Mulumba, 23, are both charged with theft by shoplifting and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Clayton County police officers said Hightower shoplifted from the Kroger store on Highway 85 in Riverdale.
"You took four bags of chitterlings valued at $32 by placing the bags in a red bag as to conceal them," Judge Beatriz Scott said as she read from Hightower’s criminal warrant.
But it's what the judge revealed next that had inmates in the courtroom shaking their heads, and some laughing.
"You committed the act by using a 14-year-old child to act as a cover," the judge said.
Police said Hightower had her daughter cover her to keep the store's surveillance cameras from recording the theft. Some shoppers couldn't believe it.
"I'm at a loss for words about this. It shouldn't be that important that you would take your child to a store and you would steal," Correlle Richmond told Channel 2 Action News reporter Tom Jones.
Hightower was not the only person accused of using a child to shoplift in court. Riverdale police said Mulumba also used children to shoplift.
Officers said she stole 14 tubes of lipstick worth $87 from a Publix in Morrow. They said she used her 2-year-old niece and 6-year-old nephew to help her shoplift.
Police said Mulumba took the children in the store’s bathroom and put the items in their clothes there.
Shoppers wondered what the adults were thinking.
"It certainly doesn't teach them how to be responsible and have ethics and making positive choices," Brenda Peters said.
Riverdale's police chief said some adults use children to shoplift thinking they won't be charged if they're caught.
Hightower and Mulumba are being held on $5,000 bond.