Mom charged after son stole thousands

March 6, 2008 6:27:00 AM PST
A boy stole $22,000 from a neighbor's safe and used the money to dole out $100 bills to his middle school classmates and finance a Wal-Mart spending spree for his mother, police said.

After finding out where the money came from, the 38-year-old mother, Wendy Mae Lizardi, allegedly told the boy to break into the neighbor's home again to return the stolen loot.

Lizardi was charged last week with receiving stolen goods and with corruption of minors.

"Oh my gosh, I am so devastated, you do not understand," Lizardi told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I am sick. I can't eat. I can't sleep. It's a nightmare."

Police said the 14-year-old boy, whose name was not disclosed in court papers, confessed to taking the money out of his neighbor's home in Bloomsburg. Lizardi reportedly told investigators she became suspicious and found cash under his mattress. Police said Lizardi told her son to break into the neighbor's home and return the money.

Lizardi's lawyer, however, said she only told her son to "take the money back."

"We deny that she committed a crime," said the lawyer, Greg Moro. "We don't think that it rises to the level of a crime as it relates to her."

Lizardi, who is unemployed, believed her son had earned the $400 that was spent at Wal-Mart by performing odd jobs, Moro said.

Moro said the boy may been trying to become more popular at school.

"You can certainly do that by giving $100 bills out to people," Moro said.

Bloomsburg Middle School Principal Lee Gump called police Jan. 30 to report a possible theft and told investigators he got conflicting stories from Lizardi and the boy.

Moro said some money was returned to the neighbor, and it is unclear how much money was lost.