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Jersey City Duo Used 7-Year-Old Girl To Commit $3,000 In Diversion Theft; Cops Say

BAYONNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Two women used a child to do their dirty work in robbing multiple Hudson County stores.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, police call it 'diversion theft' -- in this instance two women and a child entered a Bayonne business. One chatted up the store employee and got her to leave the cash register, then the 7-year-old girl races in.

Police said she grabbed the wallet out of the employee's purse, then moved on to the cash register, which she clearly knew how to use.

"This juvenile seems to know exactly where to go," Capt. Joseph Scerbo, Bayonne Police said.

Cops say the trio hit up a total of six stores along Broadway.

The first was B Uniforms, back on June 26.

"How could she. I mean, I'm a mom, I would never do that to my kids. She's teaching her how to steal? A 7-year-old?" Karina Apaza said.

B Uniforms manage Karina Apaza wasn't working at the time, but saw the surveillance video and said it was a bold move by the trio considering there are signs about surveillance video, and the monitors are right there on the counter.

Eventually, all of the video gathered led police to descriptions of the women, and on Monday, they were spotted by an off duty officer.

"Saw these individuals walking on West 26th Street, and notified Bayonne Police," the cop said.

Bayonne Police arrested 20-year-old Sonia Sykes, and 20-year-old Desmone Stevens of Jersey City, the 7-year-old isn't related to either of them -- police described her as an acquaintance.

The girl was released to her mother, who was shocked, and the New Jersey Division of Child Placement and Permanency stepped in.

Police said the child will now receive rehabilitation.

As for store owners; lesson learned.

For B Uniforms, they'll have two employees manning the store at all times.

"One taking care of the customer, and the other one watching this store, watching the customer, whatever is coming in and out," Apaza said.

Police are looking into whether the all female trio -- young and younger -- robbed stores in other towns.

The women are facing charges of theft, endangering the welfare of a child, and using a child to commit an offense.

They said they snagged about $3,000 from the six stores.


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