Mom took son, 5, on burglary, police say


In this photo taken by Samantha J. Kirkland during an alleged burglary, she says Kimberly C. Tuten is parking her son's bike while urging him to pick out one from the neighbor's home. A lawn mower and gas can, also reported stolen, are on the street.

Courtesy photo
Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 10:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 12:37 p.m.

Police said Kimberly C. Tuten walked her 5-year-old son to a neighbor’s fenced yard in the 1000 block of Northeast 14th Street and asked him if he was sure the owners were not home.

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In this photo taken by Samantha J. Kirkland during an alleged burglary, she says Kimberly C. Tuten is parking her son's bike while urging him to pick out one from the neighbor's home. A lawn mower and gas can, also reported stolen, are on the street.

Courtesy photo

Satisfied with his answer and knowing the owners had left earlier Tuesday for Canada, Tuten opened a shed in the fenced yard at around 2:15 p.m. and asked her son what he would like, according to a Gainesville Police Department report.

Tuten, 42, first took a lawn mower and gas can valued together at about $250 and pushed it to her home at 1335 NE Ninth St., the report said. She returned with her son and this time took two bicycles, valued at $300.

Another neighbor, who was outside gardening, saw and overheard the whole thing. Samantha J. Kirkland had been asked by the absent homeowner to keep an eye on the house. She said she confronted Tuten as she was hauling out the lawn mower.

“I asked, ‘What are you guys doing?’ ” Kirkland said. After some remarks, Tuten “takes off down the street with the lawnmower and gas can.” She had left the boy behind and soon came back for more.

Meanwhile, Kirkland started taking pictures with her camera phone.

“She … asked her son which bike he wanted to take,” Kirkland said. “It was heartbreaking to see that a mother would involve her child in this theft situation.”

According to GPD, Kirkland called the homeowner, who said that Tuten did not have permission to be on the property or to take the items and that she should call the police.

Tuten told police that she was just borrowing the items and intended to return them. She was arrested on charges of burglary, grand theft and violation of probation from a previous case involving possession of a controlled substance.

Tuten was being held Wednesday in the Alachua County jail in lieu of $15,000 bond.

Other neighborhood kids were watching, Kirkland said. And as Tuten was arrested, they worried what might happen to their 5-year-old playmate.

Kirkland, too, said she was worried about him and what he’s learning from his mother.

“I hope he sees her getting arrested and knows that it is wrong,” she said.

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