2007-09-26 / For The Record

Shoplifting mom arrested after enlisting kids

By Elizabeth Billips Associate Editor

A Sylvania woman was jailed after police watched a security video of her encouraging her teenage children to steal from a Waynesboro store.

Tara Nicole Flake, 35, was arrested for shoplifting Monday afternoon - just four hours after a municipal court judge continued a hearing on a previous shoplifting charge so that she could attend a funeral.

According to Waynesboro Police Lt. Mary Bennett, officers were called to Wal-Mart after store employees watched Flake conceal numerous items in a large purse.

"The children were actually bringing her things to put in her pocketbook," Lt. Bennett said. "She was teaching her own children to steal."

Before store employees intervened, Flake racked up about $53 in stolen goods, ranging from Gatorade to Halloween decorations.

Lt. Bennett said the children, who were 15 and 12, were not charged, but that the Screven County Department of Family and Children Services had been notified of the incident.

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