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Mom left child in running car while shoplifting at Publix, deputies say

SJCSO: Mom charged with theft, child neglect after 6-year-old son left in car

Booking photo of Lindsay Pence
Booking photo of Lindsay Pence

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A 27-year-old St. Johns County mother has been charged with child neglect and theft after deputies said she left her 6-year-old son inside a running, unlocked car for 30 minutes Saturday while she stole groceries from a Publix.

According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, Lindsay Pence took her infant child into the Publix at Mission Trace on State Road 16, but left her son in her Honda Civic, “because he was crying and (she) didn't want to deal with the issue inside the store.”

Deputies were called to the Publix parking lot because of the unattended boy and found him in the back seat of the unlocked car, which was running with the windows up, according to the arrest report.

Pence came out of the store not long after deputies arrived and said she'd gone in to “grab a few personal items,” the arrest report said.

Deputies reviewed Publix surveillance video and saw Pence enter the store about 4:30 p.m. and put items into a plastic Publix shopping bag that she'd brought with her. She later pushed her cart out the door without paying for any of the groceries, according to the arrest report.

The items were valued at $33.88, deputies said, and Pence had left the child alone in the car for 30 minutes.