Tosheba Hope, 30, and Gerald Moultrie, 24, were arrested outside of a Walmart in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida for walk out of the retailer with $660 worth of tools and automotive accessories. Nothing unique there. Shoplifting is a continual problem for retailers. What makes this case notable is that the police took the couple away and they never mentioned that they had left their three children in a locked car in the parking lot. Indeed, for seven hours in lock up, police say that the parents said nothing about the kids. It was reportedly Walmart workers who spotted the unharmed but highly distressed kids in the car.
Moultrie is the father of the youngest of Hope’s children (ages two, five, and seven).
The children were not discovered under 2 am. They have been turned over to child welfare and the couple is now not only facing felony theft charges but likely child neglect charges. What is interesting is that these shoplifting charges can be treated lightly in some jurisdictions, but with the child neglect charges prosecutors are less likely to be lenient. An act of neglect that occurs in the course of a crime would seem an impossible barrier to regaining custody of these children. Adding to the usual character of the case is the statement of Hope to the judge at her arraignment that she is “probably pregnant” with her fourth child.
Source: Smoking Gun