Cops arrest two in Bayside thefts involving child

By Kelsey Durham

Police arrested two women earlier this week in connection with a series of thefts in which a child was used to help the suspects steal from three Bayside stores, including two on the same day, the NYPD said.

Police alleged Brooklyn resident Tisha Strong, 41, and Shannie Eastman, 39, of South Jamaica, were responsible for two separate thefts from Worthy Pause, at 40-08 Kennedy St., and Karma Boutique, at 38-27 Bell Blvd., May 7 in which they instructed a young child to steal personal property from people inside the store and hand it to them before leaving.

The women are suspected of taking two purses from Worthy Pause that contained $170 in cash and multiple credit cards, while a wallet stolen from Karma the same day contained $200 in cash and one credit card, according to police.

The pair was also charged in a third incident that occurred April 10 inside the Empress Travel Agency, at 39-22 Bell Blvd., in which the child allegedly took $900 from a cash box in a back room of the store after asking to use a bathroom nearby, police said.

Margaret Papacostas, owner of Karma, said the women were able to pull off the theft in her store by pretending they were shopping around before sending the child behind the counter to swipe a wallet from a bag near the cash register.

She said they left without buying anything and a sales associate noticed about 20 minutes later that her wallet was missing, prompting them to check the security cameras.

Police did not say whether the same child was used for all three thefts or how she was connected to the suspects.

Strong and Eastman were arrested May 19 and charged with two counts each of grand larceny, two counts of petit larceny and three counts of failure to exercise control of a minor.

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at [email protected].