Police: Thieves Using Children to Commit Crimes

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STRONGSVILLE, Ohio-- Strongsville police need your help identifying a team of thieves who are using children to commit their crimes.

They're searching for three women and two boys, after a theft was caught on camera.

In the video, you see the group walking around the Painted Penguin store at SouthPark Mall in Strongsville, in August.

Police said two women distracted the store's clerk to come to the front of the store and then the children moved into position.

"Once they were sure the clerk was distracted, she nudged one of the small boys. He proceeded to get down on the ground. He crawled behind the counter; reached up; went into the clerk's purse; took her wallet crawled back out; handed it to the woman," said Detective Sergeant David Tomcho of the Strongsville Police Department.

The female suspect hid the wallet; then part of the team walked out of the store.

"You don't see that, that coward, getting on the floor and crawling. She used a child to do her dirty work," said Tomcho.

Strongsville police said once the suspects left the Painted Penguin, they went to another retail store, where they used the stolen credit cards to buy an iPad and gift cards.

Police also said there are other videos of the suspects in action.

If you recognize the women or children in the surveillance video, you're asked to contact Strongsville police.

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