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Man, woman accused of using child to assist with theft

A man and woman arrested and charged with stealing car parts from a junk yard had enlisted the help of an 8-year-old girl in the theft, Riverhead Town police said Tuesday.

Police said that an officer on patrol about 11:30 p.m. Monday noticed a suspicious vehicle on Kroemer Avenue with its headlights off backing into a dirt road across from Mid Island Auto Parts in Riverhead.

After he pulled the car over, the officer noticed radiators, tires and rims inside, police said. K-9 units were called to the scene and helped determine that the items had been stolen from Mid Island Auto Parts, police said.

Police arrested Spencer Stewart, 34, and the girl's 38-year-old mother. Stewart and the girl climbed the fence into the junk yard while the mother and her 4-year-old son waited in the car.

The mother and Stewart, who live at 11 College Rd. in Selden, were each charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Stewart also was charged with criminal trespassing.

Both were arraigned in Riverhead Justice Court, police said, and the state's Office of Children and Family Services was notified. The two children were turned over to the custody of a relative.

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