Shoplifting, kidnapping at Gwinnett Place mall

Other arrests are expected in the incident at Gwinnett Place mall.

About 4 p.m. Thursday, three suspects -- a male and two females -- were caught shoplifting at the Victoria's Secret store, said Gwinnett police Cpl. Edwin Ritter.

The suspects were using the 10-year-old daughter of one of the suspects to carry out the merchandise, Ritter said.

When a store employee called security, the suspects and the girl ran in separate directions in the mall.

"Mall security followed one of the suspects and the juvenile outside the mall," Ritter said. "The suspect advised mall security that she was armed with a knife as they approached her."

Ritter said there was a car unrelated to the suspects parked in front of the mall entrance with three children inside, ages 10, 8 and 5.

The suspect opened the car door and "ordered the juveniles out of the car," Ritter said. The two older children got out, but the youngest was unable to get out because the child was strapped into a booster seat.

"The suspect and juvenile got into the car and drove off with the 5-year-old," Ritter said.

The suspect abandoned the car at a nearby restaurant, leaving the 5-year-old behind uninjured.

Police on Friday were withholding the names of the two suspects arrested.

The 10-year-old girl allegedly involved in the shoplifting will not face charges because of her age, Ritter said.

Gwinnett police spokesman Brian Kelly said investigators have not yet decided whether they will charge the parent with endangering her children by leaving them unattended in the car.

Kelly said the parent who used the 10-year-old as a decoy will likely face additional charges.

“They know if the children get stopped, they’re not going to get arrested,” Kelly said. “They have that one degree of separation from the danger by using your child, which is horrible.”

Staff writer Andria Simmons contributed to this article.

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