BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A mother and grandmother are both behind bars after being accused of making kids, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, steal items like cell phones and iPads from area stores and restaurants.
Raven Nelson, 33, and her mother Rebecca Nelson, 59, both of Baton Rouge were arrested July 2, 2013 and charged with multiple felonies that include using Raven's 13 year old daughter to steal.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's officials say the Nelson's and Raven's 13, 10, and 6 year old children were in the Twin Peaks restaurant when Raven coerced the 13 year old to slip into employees only work area and steal a cell phone.
The event was caught on video. "Yes there was surveillance video that shows the children going into the area and taking the phone," says Casey Hicks with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office.
"What appears to have happened is that they had their three juvenile children at Twin Peaks Restaurant. They were under the supervision of their mother and grandmother. From what we're told, they were basically coerced to go into an employee-only area and steal one of the employees' telephones," said Hicks.
The women have also been charged with other crimes in the parish.
"This is something we've seen Raven doing with the children in other places in the Baton Rouge area," said Hicks.
Other suspected locations of the Nelson's alleged crime spree include the use of a stolen debit card at the Ralph and Kacoo's restaurant on Siegen Lane. The transaction was declined. Complaints from the Towne Center, Mall of Louisiana, and Perkins Rowe are also under investigation.
According to arrest records, when police arrested Raven for coercing the kids into stealing, she blamed the kids' role on her mother Rebecca.
"When they were questioned they admitted that they were coerced to do that by their mother. It's bad enough to commit these crimes but to involve children..." said Hicks.
Raven and Rebecca have been placed in parish prison and the children are in foster care.