Police arrested a woman who abandoned two 9-year-old girls at the Kmart in Costa Mesa, officials said Wednesday.
The store's security recognized Theresa Maris, 32, of Buena Park from a previous alleged theft when she entered the store at 2200 Harbor Blvd. with two 9-year-old stepsisters and a 4-year-old girl at about 4:50 p.m. Monday, Costa Mesa police said.
Kmart security saw Maris put an item in her handbag and try to return it, police said.
She left the store when asked for identification. When security tried to detain her, she took the 4-year-old and quickly got into a waiting black Honda, according to police.
She was heard saying, "Go, go, go!" to the driver, leaving the two older girls in the store, police said.
Several minutes later, the driver, identified by police as a friend of Maris, Shawn Gormley, 40, of Lawndale, entered the store searching for the children.
His car was found less than a half mile away.
Gormley and Maris were arrested on suspicion of burglary and child endangerment.
All three children were released to a family member.
It was unclear whether Gormley and Maris were the children's parents.
— Lauren Williams