FAIRFIELD — A Newark mother was arrested Oct. 2 for allegedly instructing her children on how to shoplift approximately $1,115 worth of merchandise from a Target store.

Elaine Lott, 28, was charged with shoplifting and employing a juvenile in the commission of a crime in connection with the incident, which took place at the Target store on Route 46 East, according to a statement from the Fairfield Police Department.

According to police, officers responded to the store at about 8:28 p.m. after store security officers reported that they were monitoring a suspected shoplifting in progress. When police arrived, security officers pointed out three juveniles standing next to a vehicle in the parking lot that allegedly pushed a shopping cart filled with items out of the store. The children, ages 11, 10 and 2, had not paid for the merchandise, police say.

Authorities believe Lott instructed the children to take the shopping cart with the merchandise out to the parking lot while she allegedly remained inside the store. Police placed Lott under arrest as she was exiting the store a short time later. Authorities say she had about $445 of additional stolen merchandise in her cart. Lott was processed and released pending an Oct. 13 appearance in Superior Court in Newark.

Following the arrest, police say the juveniles were left in the custody of another adult who was also present but not involved in the incident, which was also referred to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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