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Shanika Mathieu Used Baby As Human 'Shield' During Theft Standoff In Florida, Cops Say

Shanika Mathieu

First Posted: 11/12/12 EST Updated: 11/13/12 EST

A Florida woman tried to escape custody by using her 1-year-old son as a shield, according to Port St. Lucie cops.

Shanika Naissance Mathieu, 27, allegedly tried to steal some baby shoes from a Bealls store on Friday, but was caught by loss prevention officers, the Palm Beach Post reports.

When local cops responded to the theft report, Mathieu was reportedly on her knees in the loss prevention office, holding her baby and screaming and crying for officers not to arrest her.

The loss prevention team told officers that they'd seen the $34 shoes in her purse while she held her baby. When they took her to the loss prevention office, she allegedly got upset and tried to leave, using her baby as a "shield," authorities told TC Palm.

She was arrested and taken to jail.

State officials were called and waited on scene until another caregiver came to take custody of the child.

Mathieu was charged with cruelty toward a child, larceny, battery and shoplifting.