Mom allegedly uses 10-year-old to steal groceries, leaves her behind

Marcy Erico

Police are looking for a woman who allegedly ditched her 10-year-old daughter outside a Morgan Hill Safeway grocery store after coercing the child to try to steal a cart of groceries, according to the Morgan Hill Police Department.

The girl was turned over to her grandmother following the incident that happened Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the store at 235 Tennant Station, according to Morgan Hill police Sgt. Troy Hoefling.

Police responded to the store in response to a call from Safeway staff who had the 10-year-old girl in custody for shoplifting, Hoefling said.

Officers determined the girl entered the store with her mother, Marcy Keelin, 38 of Morgan Hill, police said. They shopped together, nearly filling a cart with groceries.

Keelin told her daughter to wait near the exit doors with the cart full of unpaid-for items until she drove up with her vehicle, Hoefling said. The girl was instructed by her mother to push the cart outside when she arrived in the vehicle.

When the 10-year-old attempted to do that, Safeway employees followed her and stopped her, Hoefling said. Keelin noticed the confrontation and drove away, leaving her daughter behind.

Police also determined that Keelin committed a similar crime just two weeks earlier, Hoefling said. In that incident, the two were able to elude Safeway staff and police, and make off with a cart full of groceries. That theft was recorded by security cameras inside the store.

The child’s grandmother was contacted and was able to take custody of the girl, Hoefling said.

Police have attempted to catch up with Keelin at her home numerous times since the Sept. 19 theft, with no success, Hoefling said.

“MHPD is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Keelin,” Hoefling said.

Keelin is a white female, 5 feet, 11 inches tall, 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, police said.

She drives a green Ford Explorer with Wyoming license plate 4-11118, according to police.

The police department currently holds a $50,000 warrant for Keelin’s arrest for her involvement in the incident, Hoefling said. She is wanted on suspicion of burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Anyone with information about Keelin’s whereabouts may call Morgan Hill police at (408) 779-2101, or the anonymous tip line at (408) 947-7867.