They soon learned he was just following orders from his mother.
Cottonwood Heights police say the 10-year old was on his way to the car with stolen items when security caught up to him.
“There was a family of five inside the store they were acting suspicious and they began monitoring them,” says Sgt. Gary Young.
He says security saw the ten-year old wheel out two items in a shopping cart that weren’t paid for.
“The parents split up and they can watch the ten year old as he got out,” says Sgt. Young.
His mom and stepfather remained inside the store as security stopped the boy. Police say the ten-year old offers security a story.
“The ten year old tells the store my parents are paying for this and they would pay for the items,” says Sgt. Young.
Police question the mom and stepfather and the ruse is up.
“The family didn't have enough money for school supplies,” says Sgt. Young. “The parents came up with a plan that they could steal some items from home depot and then return the items for cash then use that case later to purchase these school items.”
“To use a child I think people will use whatever means they have to, to get whatever they want,” says Kathryn Lagoon who was shopping at Home Depot. “It's just a sad state of people's character at this point in time.”
Mom could lose the children. But social services will work with this family.
“If we can keep the kids at home and keep the family together and just shore them up with services (such as) counseling, parenting classes,” says Liz Sollis with the state’s Division of Children & Family Services. “Those types of things can keep them as a family and strengthen them as a family.”
Police only hope it's not too late for the ten year old.
“What a grand plan to involve your child in theft,” says Sgt. Young. “At some later time if (boy thinks) it's okay then, what if he steals from school or from siblings or neighbors? It's a horrible road to go down."
Police say the mother whose name was not released was on probation for a previous felony conviction. She was allowed to go home with her children. Charges are pending.