Sometimes, the best way a parent can teach a child is to actually demonstrate a desired behavior or response. (Monkey see, monkey do.) An article published in The Auburn Citizen describes the story of a mom who brought her three-year-old daughter and the child’s father along on a grocery store trip. While there, she attempted to stuff 19 packages of meat into her purse. (Not exactly the kind of behavior you want to teach your child unless you want them to lead a life of crime.)

The story states that the woman admitted she intended to buy some chicken, but decided to steal it instead. (Did I mention she had already been banned from this particular store because of a previous shoplifting attempt?)She tried to get away with 19 packages of pork, steaks and sausage patties by stuffing them into her purse. (That’s just the tip of the iceberg in the frozen meat section.) Prosecutors alleged the couple used their child to cover up the attempted theft.

It appears that in addition to the two shoplifting attempts, the 26-year-old mom also committed welfare fraud. The article states she neglected to report income earned by selling heroin when applying for government assistance. She and her child’s father were previously arrested for possessing 250 bags of heroin at their home – where their child also lived.(If true, there is something very wrong about that.) Both were each sentenced to serve three years for the drug possession crime, but they were released on parole after serving seven months of their prison sentence.

In the second shoplifting case, the mother pleaded guilty to offering a false instrument for filing (submitting a written document to a public office that contains false information), welfare fraud and misuse of food stamps. She could receive a sentence of between two and four years in prison for her criminal actions.

The 30-year-old father of the child is charged with conspiracy, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a controlled substance, welfare fraud and misuse of food stamps for his role in the shoplifting case. His case is pending. It is important to remember that he is innocent of these charges until proven otherwise.

It is true that actions speak louder than words. If these allegations are true, it would be pretty sad for parents to place their child in the middle of a dangerous situation that could cause harm in order to complete a crime. Let’s hope this couple’s brush with the law serves as an important lesson learned by their child. Perhaps she’ll make better decisions than her parents.

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