Mom left 3 kids in car at Augusta store to shoplift, police say

Lakeesha Noreen Epps, 23, is accused of leaving her young children alone in a Wal-Mart parking lot and shoplifting at the store.

A woman arrested on shoplifting charges at Wal-Mart on Tuesday also is accused of leaving her three small children unattended in a car while she was inside the store.

A special-duty deputy at the Wrightsboro Road store was notified by employees about noon that Lakeesha Noreen Epps, 23, and Brittany Nicole Washington, 26, were putting items into other store merchandise, according to an incident report. At the self-checkout lane, they paid for only a few of the items before trying to leave the store.

The deputy found nearly $80 in unpaid merchandise, including hearing aid batteries, phone batteries and headphones, hidden inside a box.

Meanwhile, a shopper was notifying the management that three boys, ages 6, 4 and 1, were unattended in a running vehicle in the parking lot.

Epps, who is the boys’ mother, told police she left the children with two adult friends while she went inside to shop. An investigation revealed the children had been unattended for at least an hour, 45 minutes.

The children were turned over to a relative.

Epps and Washington were charged with theft by shoplifting. Epps was also charged with three counts of deprivation of a minor.

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