A shoplifting couple was recently arrested for stealing from a local Walmart in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. However, they forgot to tell authorities something extremely important -- the fact that they'd left their three small children inside a locked car in the Walmart parking lot.
The shoplifting couple identified as Tosheba Hope, 30, and Gerald Moultrie, 24, is accused of stealing an estimated $600 worth of tools and vehicle accessories from the massive retailer. They were arrested and charged with grand theft, but neither of them ever mentioned that they'd left the small children in the car.
According to NBC Miami, the children, ranging from ages 2 to 7, were locked in the car for several hours. Several media outlets reported that the arrest took place around 8:00 p.m., but the children weren't discovered until approximately 3:00 a.m. the following morning. Luckily, the children were not injured. However, a witness, Jaem Pierremonc, revealed they were extremely upset and afraid, reports WSVN.
"They looked dehydrated... They looked upset. They was worried. They was scared. They was afraid. They was looking for their mother."
Although the shoplifting couple was reportedly released without having to pay their $1000 bond, they now face additional charges for child neglect. On Tues. Jan 6, Hope and Moultrie appeared before a judge. Surprisingly, Hope revealed in addition to the three children left in the car, she is now expecting a fourth child. The judge ordered the following for Hope.
"I am going to release you on your own recognizance, and you're not allowed to go back to Wal-Mart."Of course, the couple's shoplifting has been frowned upon by many who have read about the ordeal. However, most readers are more outraged by their failure to inform authorities that the children were left inside the car. As a matter of fact, many readers have argued that the couple's child neglect charges should carry more consequences than the grand theft charges.
The three children are currently in the custody of Florida Children Protective Investigations Section until they are placed with new caregivers. A custody hearing for the children is reportedly scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 7.
Should the couple face a higher penalty for the child neglect charges since they failed to tell police that their kids were left in the car? Share your thoughts.
[Image via Broward County Sheriff's Office]