Upper Darby police say 36-year-old Nakeisha Williams was arrested Friday after her daughter tried to push a loaded shopping cart out of the Pathmark Supermarket on South 69th Street on Friday.
Investigators say Williams loaded two carts with items and took one through a checkout line with her 8-year-old son while her 10-year-old daughter pushed the other cart out the door without paying.
Police say Williams put juice, bread and milk in her cart.
"In the other cart, she puts two fans and a comforter," said Superintendent Michael Chitwood of the Upper Darby Police.
Police say she then went to the self-checkout lane.
"She tells the little girl 'I'll meet you outside. Just push it out," said Chitwood.
It was all captured on video surveillance inside the store.
The video shows the girl leaving with the cart full of unpaid for merchandise while her little brother skips on ahead. Police say they were unwitting partners in crime.
"There's no doubt in our mind that the little girl had no idea what she was doing. She was following mom's order," said Chitwood.
Police say Williams told them she did it because she had recently moved from Philadelphia and her new home was hot, so she needed the fans.
Williams has a long criminal record for drugs and multiple retail thefts. Now, she is also charged with corrupting the morals of a minor and endangering the welfare of a child.
"Here's a mother, she's got arrests for drugs, she has convictions for retail theft. Now, she's using her children in a ruse to steal? That's a sad commentary on life, isn't it?" said Chitwood.
A security guard called the police when he saw the children leaving the store. They have been placed in the custody of a guardian while Children and Youth Services investigates.
Williams is being held on $15,000 bail.