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Thieves target parking lots of childcare centers in Tea

Reports came in on Tuesday, December 12th of vehicle break-ins in the parking lot of three childcare centers in Tea. Multiple thefts of wallets and purses were reported from parents dropping children off between 6:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.

MyTea Tykes owner Chari Eli said it was about 7 a.m. when a mom came in after dropping her child off at the MyTea Tykes 2 location at 500 East 1st Street saying she thought she lost her purse.

Eli said, “We didn’t think anything of it, then a mom called to ask if we had cameras in the parking lot because she thought her purse was stolen, and another parent came in and said a teacher’s dome light was on.”

That teacher happened to be Eli’s daughter, and when she went to check her car, her wallet was gone.

Eli said they think the vehicles were all broken into around 7 a.m. She called the Tea Tots Childcare Center that morning too.

Tyson Wharton, Director at Tea Tots Childcare Center located at 2100 N. Devon Ave. in Tea reported they also had some break-ins in the parking lot.

Wharton wanted to get the word out to warn parents, “This morning we had a car wait in the parking lot and stole things out of other cars, including purses, when parents came in to drop their children off. These criminals also hit other childcare centers in Tea and did the same thing.”

He added, “The Tea Police are on the case but please make sure to bring your purse or wallet in when you drop off and pick up your kids.”

Wharton said Wednesday morning the Tea Police were monitoring things more closely and the daycare center had posted warnings on the doors.

Eli said they too sent out emails to parents to warn them about the dangers of leaving valuables in vehicles.

At the MyTea Tykes Center on Ryan Drive a window was broken to gain access inside and a wallet was stolen. It was a teacher’s vehicle, so it was not discovered until noon on Tuesday.

Eli said, “It’s scary to see this happen… and they are targeting moms, targeting places where moms drop their kids off.”

Eli added that she has told parents if they noticed anything out of the ordinary Tuesday morning to report it. She also said that if a mom is dropping off more than one child to call the center and someone will come out to help with one.

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