WFLA reported that Mahassen Elhadary, 39, of Land O’ Lakes, took her children on a shopping trip to a JCPenney store at the Countryside Mall in Clearwater on Saturday. Authorities claim Elhadary used scissors to cut the tags off $527 worth of merchandise and had her 14- and 2-year-old sons conceal the items.
“[Security] had been observing a woman who was using a pair of scissors to clip off the shoplifting devices at the store,” Robert Shaw of the Clearwater Police Department said. “A variety of clothing, a variety of shoes. Stuffing it in bags and she also had three children with her at the time.”
When security approached her in the store, her first instinct was to leave her two eldest children and run away with the baby, police said. Officers and Elhadary’s husband, who picked up his children, reportedly attempted to contact her.
“Our officers on-scene tried to contact her, and she would not answer or hung up the phone,” Shaw said.
She turned herself in a day later and was arrested and charged with child neglect, retail theft and possession of an anti-shoplifting device, according to ABC Action News.