PALM BEACH, FLA. DHC XPB — PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A West Palm Beach woman has been charged with burglarizing a home with the help of her three children -- ages 12, 11 and 10.
"She told her kids it was her aunt's house and that she had lost her key and it was all right to break in and remove property because it belonged to them," said West Palm Beach police Sgt. Ralph Gephart.
Charged with one count of burglary and one count of child abuse is Anne White, 29, of West Palm Beach.
The burglary occurred Tuesday about six blocks from White's home, and police are investigating whether White and her children are tied to other recent burglaries in the area, police Detective Allen Robertshaw said.
White was arrested when an officer roaming the neighborhood in response to a burglary spotted her walking with a videocassette recorder.
One of her children was carrying a camera, police said.
When the officer pulled up, White tried to hand the VCR off to one of her children in an effort to flee, Robertshaw said. The officer persuaded her to halt, he said.
The victim, who works in Jupiter, was contacted about the burglary. She identified the items White and her child carried as hers, Gephart said.
Robertshaw said that after the woman told the children why it was OK to break in, somebody knocked out a window and her 11-year-old son jumped through with his mother's assistance. The boy unlocked a door, allowing other family members to enter, police said.
The children "didn't think they were doing anything wrong," Robertshaw said.
White was being held yesterday at the Palm Beach County Stockade on $3,000 bond. Her children were initially turned over to the custody of the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.
It is the second time in the past two months that a child was involved in a burglary in the West Palm Beach area, police said.
Joseph Lee Brown was charged in early July with burglary and possession of burglary tools in connection with the theft of aluminum cans from a trash bin at Liberty Scrap Metal.
The haul was worth about $10, police said.
Brown's son was found sitting on a bucket while his father burrowed through the tin cans, Officer Dave Howard said.