One Texas mother is gaining recognition for her recent attempt to steal merchandise after allegedly using her baby as a shield against officers to do so. According to a report from KVUE, Kristen Reeves was spotted using her 15-month old daughter “Laila” as a human shield after unsuccessfully stealing a cell phone from a local Walmart.
The 24-year-old reportedly used the child in an attempt to evade loss prevention officers at the Harris County retail store on Wednesday evening after allegedly attempting to return and receive a refund for a stolen cell phone. According to the report, Reeves left the location without the child but not before hitting the toddler’s head on a fire extinguisher in an attempt to flee. Officials said Reeves eventually returned to the establishment where she was arrested and charged with child endangerment and theft.
KPRC-TV reported the altercation began after the mother was brought into a holding room to wait for authorities. “At that point she has the infant in her hands and she pushes it towards the loss prevention officer where he immediately grabs the child,” said Deputy Thomas Gilliland, who also revealed Reeves was charged for shoplifting a computer router.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that this had come to that. I don’t even know how to react. I’ve never heard of such a thing,” a longtime family friend of Reeves, Elaine Cauthen, told KVUE. Cauthen labeled the situation as tragic. “I love that baby to death. I mean, I love that baby. She’s like my granddaughter," she said.
This shoplifting offense is the fourth for Reeves who has been arrested for theft-related charges on three separate occasions in the past. The child is currently in custody of an unidentified family member. Reeves has two other children, ages three and seven, both of which she reportedly does not have custody of.