Cops: Shoplifter Left Kids in Car, and It Caught Fire

Children were rescued, but mother faces serious charges in Florida
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 4, 2023 5:30 AM CDT
Cops: Shoplifter's Car Catches Fire With Kids Inside
   (Getty / Daniel Tadevosyan)

A Florida woman faces charges of aggravated child neglect and arson after her car became engulfed in flames while she was allegedly shoplifting at a mall, say police. Alicia Moore, 24, parked her car in a parking lot outside a Dillard's department store at Oviedo Mall on May 26, according to an arrest report filed by the Oviedo Police Department. The report indicated Moore left children inside the vehicle, though their names and ages were redacted, per the AP. Security saw Moore and an unknown man shoplifting in Dillard's, according to the report. After about an hour, Moore began leaving Dillard's to see her car engulfed in flames and dropped the merchandise before she left the store.

Bystanders at the mall saw the car and rescued the children inside trying to escape the flames. The children were taken to Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. One child suffered first-degree burns “to her face and ears,” the arrest report said. Moore has been charged with aggravated child neglect for allegedly allowing children who could not care for themselves alone inside the vehicle, according to the report. Police said they don't know what caused the fire but said it's unlikely the children would have been injured if Moore “was not being neglectful.” Moore was charged with arson because the fire occurred while she was allegedly committing a felony, the arrest report said.

The public defender's office was representing Moore, according to court records. An email seeking comment sent to the office late Saturday was not immediately returned. Moore is being held on $40,000 bail. A public defender filed a motion on Friday asking for Moore to be released without bail or to have the bail amount reduced “to a reasonable and affordable amount.” (More Florida stories.)

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