Single mothers filled with regret were making arrangements to turn themselves after they were seen on surveillance footage taking toys from a Hawaii store before Christmas, according to a lawyer who referred to the theft as a "desperate" act.
Surveillance video from Dec. 1 and released by police last week showed five women and a man helping themselves to items in a Toys R Us display at Windward Mall in Kaneohe. Police said the group had hauled away about $1,000 worth of merchandise.
Attorney Myles Breiner said some of the women contacted him Friday, and he said the women knew what they did was wrong. He said he contacted police over the weekend and stored the items in his office.
Police on Tuesday took the items, which were brought gift-wrapped to Breiner's office, and returned them to the store manager, the lawyer said. Meanwhile, at least three women made arrangements to surrender to police Tuesday, and the others, including the man who has since contacted Breiner, were expected to surrender by the end of the week.
"One of the concerns is that because they're single parents, there will be someone who will take care of their kids," Breiner said. "They're embarrassed and they're frightened."
One of the women and her young daughter were with the group but didn't take anything, the attorney noted.
Breiner said he'll be representing one of the women and has made arrangements for the others to have representation.
"This seemed like a very desperate situation," he said. "I felt I could do something to lessen the impact. Here's an opportunity to at least improve their situation to at least receive some degree of understanding from the courts."
He called the thefts "impulsive" and indicative of tough economic times.
"They wanted to meet their kids' expectations," he said. "The income gap is growing between haves and have-nots. You have very wealthy tourists who come to the islands who spend a lot of money and you have lots of local people who don't have that kind of money."