Mommy Is A Klepto: A Child Custody Investigation

Why is that 4-year-old girl in a stroller in the mall when the kid looks perfectly capable of walking?

I had reason for my suspicion as I pretended to look at Movados at a jewelry store while keeping one eye on mommy as she fed her two girls corn-dogs and Cokes. I had followed them from school to the mall, two days after finding that the 35-year-old mother had a bench warrant for shoplifting from an incident last year at a mall. I did not see any conspicuous boosting but I know from other cases that strollers make for nice “storage” places for the five- finger discount.

I took the case for the father of the older girl. He is in the courts fighting a long custody battle for his 9-year-old daughter. I like my client quite a bit. He presents as a caring father, now married, who wants a structured environment for his daughter. She is having some problems in school. He craved information that might help him in court.

I gave him good results. In this business I am always asking why some cases have great outcomes while select few don’t turn out that great. The biggest factor for success was that he committed financial resources. He did not balk at a $1,000 retainer. All I had on my mind was doing a good job instead of wondering about payment issues. The other big reason was that he knew the vehicle she was driving and the schedule for when she was supposed to pick up his daughter from school. You save a lot of time, and money, when you know where and when to start a surveillance.

I began a dual surveillance and background check probe.

The mother, who does not have a job, had neglected to tell the court and my client where she was living. Any parent would want to know where his child stays. So the first step was going to the old address one night, where I followed her as she moved into a new condominium complex.

The next step was a background check for civil and criminal records. I found the shoplifting citation, on suspicion of stealing a $175.00 polo shirt, and the accompanying bench warrant for failing to show in court. She also gave police an address that was about 8 years old.

I noticed that when she drove she would speed and tailgate with the two little girls in the vehicle. A check of her California driving record revealed that she was driving on a suspended license in connection with speeding violations and, you guessed it, failing to appear in court.

The woman is 35-years-old. Adults don’t just start shoplifting later in life. Not telling the court where she lives, lying to police about her address, failing to show for traffic violations, etc. show a pattern. I hope the court makes a wise decision on behalf of the client and the daughter.