Parents accused of using 10-year-old son in retail theft scheme

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Two parents are accused of using their 10-year-old child to steal from a home improvement store.

The boy allegedly wheeled a cart with several items in it out of a Home Depot in Cottonwood Heights Wednesday just before 4 p.m. while shopping with his family.

Police said the boy had been instructed to say his parents planned to pay for the items if he was stopped. Police said the parents planned to return the items and then use the money gained to buy school supplies.

Sgt. Gary Young of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department said it’s unfortunate a child was used in a scheme of this kind.

“It’s a horrible road to go down,” he said. “I feel bad for this family that they’re in those circumstances, but I also feel worse for the kids being used in a theft.”

Young said the suspects were screened on charges and released rather than being booked into jail. He said there were two children in addition to the 10-year-old boy, and they were concerned about what would happen to the children if the parents were jailed.

Police said charges have not yet been filed, but they said there may be felony charges in the suspects’ future, as this is not a first offense. Young said screening those charges will take time.