OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - Detectives are looking for a couple who shopped with a stolen credit card at a Home Depot in Oakland Park, earlier this summer.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, a man and woman were shopping with two young boys at the retailer, located at 1701 W. Oakland Park Blvd., back on June 26.
Investigators said the couple paid for a rake with a stolen card. They then proceeded to leave the store with a lawnmower, which they never paid for.
“The gentleman that was part of this group got a large box containing a lawnmower, then they decided to leave the store without paying for that lawnmower at all,” said BSO spokesperson Gina Carter. “They didn’t even bother to try to pay for that piece of equipment with the stolen card.”
Surveillance video captured the woman and the two children entering the Home Depot. Following behind them was the man, wearing all black. “They walk into the store together, looking like a normal family,” said Carter. “They took their time, casually shopping in the store.”
The footage shows the woman handing over the rake to the cashier and swiping the stolen credit card. She is then seen walking away with the rake, then coming back with the man and children.
The man is seen pushing the lawnmower on the cart while the woman walked around with the rake. Meanwhile, the boys are seen running around near the couple, probably unaware of what the adults are about to do.
“All the while, these little boys are around them, walking around, having some drinks, playing,” said Carter.
“I think there’s got to be a better way,” said Home Depot customer Carlos Garcia. “I know that sometimes situations are rough, and there’s many different programs that can help them out.”
The video shows the subjects standing around for some time. Then the man appears to be walking out with the lawnmower, but he stops when he sees the store’s sensors. He then appears to tell one of the boys to push the cart outside of the store and walks out. “This is really heinous,” said Carter. “These people are using these little boys as a foil, to pretend that they’re a family shopping. All the while, they’re stealing, they’re using somebody else’s credit card.”
The cart is obviously too heavy for the boy to push, so the woman is seen handing over the rake to him. After waiting around for a while, she is seen meandering and appearing to be putting items away in her wallet. Moments later, she is seen grabbing the cart and walking out of the store with the lawnmower.
Footage from exterior surveillance cameras show one of the boys standing on the cart behind the lawnmower as the woman pushes him toward a car in the parking lot, as if nothing illicit had ever happened. “It’s a very scary situation, you know,” said employee Lee Severino. “Kids should be innocent. They should be protected by their parents.”
The footage then shows the man and the woman loading the lawnmower and rake into the trunk of a black Chevy Camaro as the boys look on. “Whether or not the kids are aware of what the grown-ups are actually doing, it’s really just to their detriment,” said Carter.
According to investigators, the Home Depot credit card the subjects used to pay for the rake belongs to a woman in Palm Beach County who had claimed her purse was stolen from her car in Fort Lauderdale, June 25. She said the card was used twice at the Oakland Park Home Depot and also at a nearby Wal-Mart.
BSO described the unidentified man as black with an athletic build, medium complexion and tattoos on his forearms. He has black hair and shoulder-length dreadlocks or braids, along with a black mustache and black goatee.
He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt, black athletic pants and white sneakers.
The female accomplice is described as black with a medium complexion and build, along with a large tattoo on the left side of her chest. According to police, she has shoulder-length brown or auburn hair, which was last seen in a ponytail. She also wore glasses, a coral-colored shirt, multicolored leggings and sandals.
The investigation is ongoing. “These people are horrible role models,” said Carter. “They’re using these children to commit an act that is a crime, and we need to find them.”
If you have any information on this couple’s whereabouts, or if you recognize either of the boys in the video, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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