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Shoplifting suspect used son as aide, police charge

KHAM TU LY KHAM TU LY

As police arrested 39-year-old Kham Tu Ly at a Braintree department store on suspicion of stuffing nearly $500 worth of merchandise in her clothing, they say, she nodded to her 9-year-old son, who began to cry and scream.

"The officer felt the nod of the head and the tirade the boy made was a rehearsed action," said Deputy Chief Russell Jenkins of the Braintree Police Department.

Ly, who was arrested Saturday, pleaded not guilty yesterday at her arraignment in Quincy District Court to two counts of shoplifting. She was released on personal recognizance until her next court date on May 14, police said.

Police released the child to his father on Saturday, and the Department of Social Services is investigating allegations of child neglect, said spokesman Michael MacCormack.

According to police, surveillance cameras first caught Ly shoplifting at Lord & Taylor at the South Shore Plaza on March 11, but she was not apprehended, so store employees kept the footage in case Ly returned.

While Ly browsed the store and used a dressing room Saturday, her son monitored nearby shoppers, police said. Ly allegedly tucked 21 items under her shirt and then used a fitting room to place the merchandise, worth $492, into tights she wore under her clothing.

Police said that store personnel watched Ly shoplift the items and called authorities. When Braintree officers arrived and began to question Ly, she nodded to her son, who started to cry and ask if the officers were "taking his mommy," police said.

April Simpson can be reached at asimpson@globe.com.

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