PORT ST. LUCIE — A 27-year-old woman accused Thursday of using her 1-year-old son as a "shield" during a theft incident at a Bealls store in St. Lucie West was arrested, according to an affidavit released Friday.
Shanika Naissance Mathieu, of the 1500 block of Southwest Jacksonville Avenue in Port St. Lucie, was arrested by Port St. Lucie police on charges including child abuse, retail theft, resisting recovery of property by a merchant and battery.
An officer went to a Bealls in the 1700 block of Northwest St. Lucie West Boulevard following a report of a theft and a disturbance. Mathieu was in the loss prevention office on her knees holding her baby. She cried and screamed for officers not to arrest her.
A loss prevention officer told police he saw Mathieu put a $34.08 pair of baby shoes in her purse while holding her baby. The loss prevention officer escorted her into the loss prevention office. She got agitated and combative and got up. She tried to leave, using her baby as a "shield."
Mathieu was arrested and taken to jail.
Police contacted the state Department of Children and Families and a person identified as a "child protector" came to the scene. That person waited until a caregiver took custody of the child.