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Clearwater Police Charge Woman Who Shoplifted With Child Present

Pinellas Crime | Local News | TB Reporter

The woman said she shoplifted the items because her daughter wanted them and she hates telling her no, Clearwater police said.

CLEARWATER – Police have identified and charged a 52-year-old Tampa woman as the one who stole multiple items in the presence of her 8-year-old daughter at a store recently. Melinda Lawrence of 6902 W. Hillsborough Ave. was charged with retail theft in the incident, which occurred at Kmart on March 1 at 26996 U.S. 19 N, according to Clearwater police.

Clearwater police released surveillance video from the store late last week that showed the suspect walking out of the store without paying for the three items she had in her possession. Friends and family members told Lawrence they saw her on the news, and she called police to turn herself in. Detectives say she told them that she and her daughter had stopped at the store to go shopping for Easter dresses. That’s when she said her daughter picked out a wireless speaker she wanted, even though the mother told her she had no money. The daughter also told her she wanted a Malibu Barbie and Barbie doll house. According to police, Lawrence said that her daughter really wanted the items, and that she hates telling her no.

The total value of the items was $165.50.

Lawrence was given a notice to appear in court March 31. For information, see

Clearwater | Clearwater Police | Clearwater Crime | Shoplifting

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