HONOLULU — Four unemployed, single mothers surrendered to police after they were seen on surveillance footage taking items from a Hawaii toy store before Christmas, Honolulu police said Wednesday.
The women, ages 22, 25, 26 and 30, were arrested Tuesday at the Kaneohe police station, near the Windward Mall Toys R Us where police say there were among of a group seen hauling away merchandise on Dec. 1. They were arrested on suspicion of second-degree theft, booked and later released pending further investigation, said Caroline Sluyter, a police spokeswoman.
Several of the women contacted attorney Myles Breiner last week after police released the footage and asked the public for help finding them. The remorseful women took the toys as gifts for their children, he said, and that he made arrangements for police to take the items from his office to be returned to the store's manager.
One of the women is six months pregnant, Breiner said. A fifth woman and a man were not on the island and are expected to surrender by Monday, he said.
All five of the women are single, unemployed moms. One of them had a job until news of her arrest got her fired, Breiner said.
"This seemed like a very desperate situation," he said, adding that he's helping them pro bono. He's representing one woman and arranged for the others to get representation. "I felt I could do something to lessen the impact."
He said he's hoping for leniency from authorities. The theft has drawn widespread attention, he noted, with a range of reaction from sympathy for the women's situation to anger because many other down-on-their-luck moms don't resort to stealing.