Police say 29 year old Kelly McCaw introduced her children to a life of crime at an early age. She allegedly used them to distract other shoppers while she stole their pocketbooks.
Police released surveillance photos of McCaw on one of her shopping sprees, showing her with her 8 year old and 7 month old daughters.
According to investigators, McCaw admits that she used the girls to distract other shoppers, asking them for help while holding the baby.
"People see a woman carrying a little baby and walking with a little girl and they're asked to do a favor, they'll say 'Sure, what do you need?'" said Michael Chitwood with the Upper Darby Police.
While the victims were distracted, police say McCaw would grab their pocketbooks, later going to a restroom, removing the cash and leaving the rest.
Police say McCaw admits to five thefts in the past five days. They say there may be many more, all to support a crack habit.
She was caught Wednesday when an 80 year old woman alerted the manager at an Acme supermarket.
He followed McCaw to the parking lot and got a tag number from her white minivan as she sped off.
McCaw was picked up at the apartment she shares with her boyfriend Wednesday night.
Police had been there many times before to break up fights between the two.
A neighbor says the 8 year old would often come to her apartment to hide out while the fighting raged.
Police say child welfare officials have been contacted.
The children are now staying with McCaw's boyfriend.
The police say McCaw has confessed, blaming her crack habit.
"She's a scumbag, that's the bottom line, there are no ifs, ands or buts about it," Chitwood said. "She's a crack addict using her children to cover up her thefts to support her crack habit," Chitwood said.
McCaw was arraigned in Upper Darby on theft charges. She's being held on $40,000 bail.