Written by Jerry Carnes
MARIETTA, Ga. (WXIA) -- A Marietta woman accused of using her two young children to steal items from a Cobb County Walmart was released by officers because she is pregnant with another child.
Marietta Police say Lakesha Michelle Gilchrist will be arrested after she's delivered the child that's due any day.
Officers have issued a warrant that accuses Gilchrist of taking her 10 and 15-year-old daughters into the Walmart on Cobb Parkway, where she "did knowingly and willfully encourage, cause, abet, connive, or aid" her children "to help steal merchandise valued at $1,582.98."
Police say Gilchrest and her children tried to leave the store with three shopping carts filled toys, clothes, and other household items.
Officers were called to the store but did not immediately arrest Gilchrist. Marietta Police Officer David Baldwin says there was concern that taking Gilchrist to jail when she's nine months pregnant could put stress on the unborn child.
"What if she's arrested and there are complications?" said Baldwin. "We really want to minimize any possible complications to this baby. It's not the baby's fault the mother made poor choices."
Baldwin pointed out that Gilchrist is not facing charges that involve a violent crime, and she is not considered a flight risk.
No one answered the door at the apartment listed on the warrant as Gilchrist's home address.
Gilchrist is facing felony shoplifting charges, as well as two misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Police say the 10 and 15-year-old have been turned over to other family members.