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May 15, 2012

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Gang's theft method: Use child, who wouldn't face punishment

A gang instigated a 10-year-old girl to steal more than 500,000 yuan (US$79,125) in cash from local shops, Qingpu District prosecutors said yesterday.

The gang involving six suspects said they used the girl because children could escape punishment and would not be given criminal penalties.

"Even if the girl was caught stealing on the scene, most victims would be lenient to her and finally free her considering she was only a kid," said one suspect, named Bao Zi, who pretended to be the girl's father and "rescued" her many times.

Prosecutors said they would not charge the little girl but her parents, though not involved in the gang, will face charges of hiding criminal income. By yesterday, two suspects of the gang have been arrested on theft charges while the four others are still under investigation.

Prosecutors said the gang had a clear assignment to cover up the girl when she stretched her little hand to steal money from the cashier. Two of them would enter a shop first to locate the cash register. When they came out, the four others would pretend to be customers and make every effort to distract the attention of shopkeepers by bargaining prices with them and asking them to fetch goods from storage, prosecutors said.

The girl would then sneak her way to the counter, open the cash register and take the money. Prosecutors said she hid the money in her clothes and walked away without being noticed.


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