As burglaries increase in areas all across the US, I see some pretty strange stories. Our “Stupidest Burglar” series addresses many of these, but I’ve been collecting a few bizarre accounts of unwilling home intrusion accomplices – and they’re usually buckled into a car seat. That’s right, these parents (and even grandparents) seemed to feel that taking a toddler along on a burglary was acceptable. The sad truth is that the children may end up separated up from their parents when the parents are caught, as they often are.
From Muskegon Michigan
A Muskegon County mother faces charges. She’s accused of bringing her 2-year-old daughter along on a burglary. Police say Nicole Bugajski and her mother Kimberly Mahnke tried to break into a Muskegon Township home on Saturday. The homeowner caught them in the act and tried to block their car in the driveway, but they got away. Officers tracked them down a short time later and say Bugajski’s baby girl was in the car with them. Both women face home invasion charges. The girl is in protective custody.
Erie County Sheriffs say a husband and wife have been arrested for burglary and endangering the welfare of a child after they brought the toddler with them during a burglary attempt. Captain Kenyon says investigators are now comparing other burglary incidents in Elma and several surrounding communities. “We’ve had several cases involving similar incidents with chain saws, leaf equipment and the like being taken from sheds and businesses in the area.” Both face several burglary, larceny, and even grand larceny charges. But Kenyon says the child endangerment charge they face troubles him the most. “The fact is that they had a 4-year old child with them. We notified both the New York State Hotline and Erie County Child Protective Services. We find it very troubling.” The couple’s 4-year old daughter has been placed in the custody of other family members.
Maybe he couldn’t afford a babysitter, or maybe he thought it was “Take your Daughter to Work” day. Whatever the reason, Jesus Belmares took his 3-year-old girl with him when he burglarized a house in Gainesville Tuesday then led police on an ill-fated chase. Belmares, 22, and an accomplice, Lazar Lopez, 17, were arrested after they crashed while fleeing from police. Both men were charged with burglary, the news outlet reported. Belmares also was charged with second-degree cruelty to children. Both were arrested there. Police told local media that they found Belmares’ 3-year-old daughter in the car, along with stolen property. The child was handed over to The Department of Family and Children Services.
These stories may be a sign of how seriously this recession is affecting people, but one thing is for sure: a getaway car that’s being chased by the police is no place for a toddler. We hope we have seen the last of these stories – and even better, we would like to see burglaries subside overall. Unfortunately, a break-in still takes place every 14 seconds somewhere in the US. Four out of five homes still need protection – especially from the nationwide leader for interactive, wireless home security. One thing we can all agree on: there is no place – or excuse – for a toddler being present in the commission of a crime.