Two Florida Women Charged With Using Young Girls To Orchestrate Retail Theft

Lee County deputies have arrested Cortney Herndon and Jessica Barker, who stand accused of using young girls as decoys so they could steal from Target. The women would allegedly stuff the carts with the items they wanted to steal, then would have young girls between 10 and 11 years of age walk in, meet up with the suspects at the front of the store, and while the suspects used the bathroom, the girls walk right out of the Super Target with the stolen goods. Surveillance cameras caught all three women, and both of the young girls, loading up the stolen goods into a white SUV.

With the revolution of technology, cameras, and other forms of recording faces and video, theft crimes are becoming harder and hard to get away with. Department stores now have 24 hour security, advance alarm systems, some stores even having laser trip-systems. One should not trip oneself up in the legal system as well when one is pursued by the authorities for the charge of theft. imagesffd.jpg

Many thefts in Jacksonville from retail stores do not occur from break-ins, but from five finger discount enthusiasts who like to take things without paying for them. Teams of professional shoplifters are on the rise throughout Florida, and as seen in this and other cases like it, some of these shoplifters are in their early teens and are employees of the store themselves. They will work in teams and execute thefts with pre-determined moves, using distractions, sleight of hand, and marking blind spots in security camera viewing range in order to steal items, sometimes very costly.

When a store employee or Loss Prevention Officer challenges one by asking one to return to the store because they think one lifted an item off the shelf without paying or deceptively switched the price tags, remember they are not police officers. They do not and will not have your best interests at heart; they work for the store and they have a bias. They will attempt to have one waive one’s rights by making a statement, either written or oral. Because the procedure for loss prevention in many retail stores differs from proper police procedure, sometimes, the accused shoplifter may think that if they write a statement, the problem can be settled quickly without police involvement. All one does is dig oneself a bigger whole. One is not obligated to give store personnel any information. In many cases the police are called regardless of whether one actually cooperated with store personnel or whether one actually stole anything or not.

Where one is grilled with questions from a loss prevention officer who automatically believes that one stole from the store or from a police officer arriving on scene that thinks one stole from the store, many times innocence is hard to prove. Regardless of one’s innocence, the officer will side with the store, many times because of all of the previous shoplifting cases they have seen.

Fortunately, if one is in such a situation and one obtains an experienced attorney, one’s attorney will be able to challenge the evidence against one, including witness testimony, questioning the conduct and manner of the arrest or search, or how evidence was processed by law enforcement.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: 2 arrests made in Target child decoy theft, ABC-7.com