A Mastic health care aide left her two youngsters, including a 15-month-old boy, in the car for 21/2 hours while she went shoplifting at the Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa, where she threw a security officer to the ground before running, Nassau police said Wednesday.
Coshonda Vanderhall, 31, was caught Tuesday afternoon with $270 in clothes sticking out of her own clothing as she left J.C. Penney, police said.
But after her arrest, she did not tell officers she had left the baby boy and her 10-year-old daughter alone in the car at the mall parking lot, police said.
The two children were discovered only after they walked into the department store, said Det. Vincent Garcia, a police spokesman.
"An employee saw them and asked them what they were doing," he said. "The 10-year-old said they were looking for their mom."
It was not clear Wednesday how authorities knew they were Vanderhall's children.
Vanderhall, of 14 Stuyvesant Ave., was arraigned Wednesday on third-degree robbery, a felony, and two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She was ordered jailed on $30,000 bail.
She could not be reached for comment, and it was not known if she had an attorney.
Police said Vanderhall had just left the store about 4:20 p.m. when a female security guard tried to retrieve the clothing, including a black dress and children's wear. Vanderhall punched the guard in the face, grabbed her around the waist and threw her to the ground, police said.
Mall security chased her and officers arrived to arrest her, police said. The security guard was taken to a hospital for injuries, which were not life-threatening.
The children were released to an aunt, police said.
Police said Vanderhall had been arrested three times since 2004 and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in each case. In the last, she was sentenced to five days in jail for petty larceny.
With John Valenti, Gary Dymski and