(CNN) – Police say surveillance video shows two women using children as accomplices to help steal a store clerk’s wallet in metro Atlanta. And investigators suspect it wasn’t the first time they pulled off the same crime.
Watch as a woman and a child peek to make sure a store clerk is distracted. Seconds later, the woman sneaks behind the counter to look for the clerk’s wallet.
She takes it and stuffs it down her pants, all while the child is serving as a lookout.
Lt. Mike Whitlow: “It’s particularly despicable because they’re using children.”
Fayetteville police Lieutenant Mike Whitlow tells me the video shows another disturbing aspect of the crime.
Lt. Mike Whitlow: “It’s also smooth enough to tell us that they’ve done this before.”
This theft happened at College Collectibles on the day after Christmas at around three o’clock in the afternoon. Two women and two children are seen entering the store. One woman and one child distract the clerk in the back, while the two others move to the front counter.
Lt. Mike Whitlow: “It’s sad because that is thief school for the children and they’re teaching them how to steal.”
Video shows the group leaving together and the clerk has no idea what happened. An hour later, police say surveillance video from a Walmart in Griffin shows one of the women using three stolen credits to buy gift cards.
Police need help identifying the suspects, though they say the children won’t face charges.
Lt. Mike Whitlow: “She’s got a parent or a guardian there telling her to do this, in her mind it is right because her parent is telling her to do this.”
The women face felony theft and identity theft charges, on top of possible child cruelty and abuse charges. Police from other counties are investigating because it’s believed the women may have committed the same crime in other parts of metro Atlanta.