NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- A mother of four is behind bars Wednesday night after police say she shoplifted and left her children in the car while stealing.
Shayonna Miller, 27, is charged with petit larceny for stealing from the Niagara Falls Home Depot.
She’s also charged with four counts of child endangerment for leaving her kids in the car alone while inside the store; one of the children is an infant.
Niagara Falls police say she was first caught by store personnel, who then called police.
‘Then when they took her into custody, the store security, she told them that she had four children that were left out in the vehicle,” said Captain Joseph Casale.
The management there then called police officers.
She's charged with petit larceny and also four counts of child endangerment. Those four counts are attributed to each of the four kids, ages 10, 6, 2, and 3 weeks old.
“Endangering the welfare of a child is when your actions put them in danger, and by shoplifting she did that,” said Casale. “She had to know that it would be possible that she could be caught, and she left them alone in the vehicle, and two of them were very young."
Many toys and belongings found in the car initially raised suspicions that Miller may have been living out of her car.
Officers tell Channel 2 that is incorrect. Casale said Miller told the officers on scene that she had been evicted from her home that same morning (Wednesday), and that she was going to stay with her mother, the children’s grandmother.
Miller is being held in jail overnight, and she will be arraigned Thursday morning in Niagara Falls City Court.
In the meantime, police said the grandmother is taking after the four kids.
Casale said Miller does have a criminal history but had never been charged with child endangerment before.
According to the Niagara Gazette, Miller was also charged with petit larceny for shoplifting less than two months ago.