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Police arrest couple accused of using child in Clearwater Beach thefts


Published:   |   Updated: August 21, 2013 at 09:29 AM

A Kissimmee couple, seen on surveillance video using their son to commit two thefts at Clearwater Beach businesses, has been arrested.

Clearwater police say Julio Angel Torres, 31, and Janet M. Soto, 37, were taken into custody Tuesday night at the Sunrise Bowling Center, 6393 N. Martin Luther King St. in St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg police say they received a tip Tuesday from an anonymous citizen who recognized the suspects after seeing them during a local newscast.

Police say Torres, Soto and their 10-year-old son stole items from Ron Jon Surf Shop, 377 Mandalay Blvd., on Sunday about 5:30 p.m.

Shortly after, a surveillance camera captured the boy entering Hooters, 381 Mandalay Blvd., and removing two purses from a storage room and placing them in a baby stroller in which the couple was carrying their 2-year-old daughter.

An hour later, someone tried to use the stolen debit card at a Target on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater, police said.

Torres and Soto were charged with two counts of grand theft, burglary, credit card fraud and felony child neglect. Torres also faces a charge of violation of probation.

More charges may be forthcoming, police say, pending further investigation.

The suspects’ 2006 Acura was seized, as was $575 in cash and two purses with stolen IDs and credit cards, police said.

The children were placed into custody of the Department of Children and Families, police said.

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