Police say two Indiana babysitters used the 2-year-old toddler they were watching as a decoy to conceal alcohol they were attempting to steal from a South Bend Meijer.
"It appears they put this child on top of a blanket, which was on top of some alcohol they were trying to conceal, and sort of used him as a decoy so you couldn't really tell what he was laying on top of," South Bend Police Capt. Phil Trent told WSBT-TV.
Benjamin Sims, 27 and Danielle Howey, 26, were arrested after attempting a similar scheme at a nearby Walmart, where a security camera caught them trying to steal hundreds of dollars in DVDs, police told ABC Chicago.
Sims and Howey have been babysitting the 2-year-old boy, who is related to the pair by marriage, for the past two months while his mother was at work, the Chicago Tribune reports. The child's mother, Nicole McCullough, was frantically searching for him after work while the babysitters were placed into custody.
"Horrible, it really was," she told the Tribune, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I couldn't find him, didn't know where he was. Called the hospital, called everybody I knew trying to get a hold of them."
Sims and Howey are facing felony theft charges, WSBT-TV reports.
"It makes you feel awful. It kind of makes you feel like you put your son in that [situation], but I had no clue. I thought [leaving him with] family, it would be safe," she told the Tribune.