SURVEILLANCE: Mom, kids allegedly set clothes on fire, steal from kid’s store
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Surveillance video captures the moment two kids allegedly set a rack of clothing on fire while their mother is accused of stealing from the store.
It happened at Carter’s kids’ clothing store on Siegen Lane. Investigators say it was an elaborate crime all put in motion by their mother.
The video shows fire breaking out in the middle of the store on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. While workers and other customers are distracted by the blaze, a mother and her two boys can be seen getting away.
The mother has been identified as Jerdae Tanner and she is behind bars, charged with aggravated arson and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The video, obtained by the 9News Investigators, shows one of the kids light the fire. Once the pants go up in smoke, the mom appears to start stuffing clothing into her purse.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked David Hughes with the St. George Fire Department if he has ever seen anything like what the video shows.
“No, we’ve never seen where a parent is actively engaging her children in a crime of arson, no,” answered Hughes.
While shoppers and workers run up to the burning clothing rack and become distracted by the commotion, the video shows the mom and the two boys slip out of the store. Investigators say the trio then took off in a white getaway car.
While the video shows one worker calling police, another worker is seen with a fire extinguisher but she has problems trying to get it to work. A Good Samaritan stepped in at one point to drag the burning clothing rack from inside the store.
“It’s through those actions that saved a lot of money and a lot of damage in that store and it was very quick thinking and it was good,” added Hughes.
Hughes calls the whole ordeal dangerous and says things could have easily gotten out of hand.
“This was in a very fuel-rich environment and it could have cost the lives of employees and customers,” explained Hughes.
Fire investigators say based on her actions, it’s clear the entire situation was all to distract from the theft.
”She was very calm and collected whenever she walked out and even reported to one of the store employees who was outside by the front door that there was a fire in there and then they went to their vehicle,” said Hughes.
While the mother is facing charges, Hughes said they are concerned about the kids involved and hope to reach them now before it’s too late.
”How do we intervene and how do we get intervention with these kids and how do we get them on a correct path? We’re concerned with stopping the behavior and preventing future acts from occurring,” said Hughes.
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