Few people in a Los Banos restaurant seemed to notice as the pint-sized bandit in pink slipped up to a woman’s purse and lifted her cellphone.
But two women who were with the little girl and were recorded on video surveillance footage laughing during the incident may be in serious trouble.
Police said Monday they are investigating the Oct. 22 incident as possible grand theft.
A 94-second video recorded at a Mountain Mike’s Pizza appears to show two women looking on as the toddler approaches a purse hanging on the back of a woman’s chair. They laugh as the child takes a cellphone, then one woman picks up the toddler and carries her to another table, where they leave her with a group of people before exiting the restaurant.
“The video appears to show several females encouraging or allowing a child to take a cellular phone from a purse,” Los Banos police Cmdr. Ray Reyna said.
Video of the incident has circulated on social media. Reyna said an 18-year-old woman turned in the phone to police Nov. 1, but said police aren’t confirming whether she was one of the women in the video.
“We do have the video and we are investigating it as a grand theft case,” Reyna said. “We have recovered the phone, but we’re still following up on identifying the individuals and making contact with them.”
A man who identified himself as the Mountain Mike’s restaurant manager declined to comment.
Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562