Woman accused of using 7-year-old to shoplift shares her story

BELLEVUE, Wash. — (1/9) Update: The mother accused of using her 7-year-old to shoplift is telling her side of the story.

LaVonya Walker, 48, says she did not tell her son to steal and was surprised when she found out he'd taken two pairs of sunglasses.

She said she didn't know they were in the bag he was carrying until the two of them were stopped by loss prevention officers at Macy's on New Year's Day.

Walker claims a drug dealer forced her to steal and threatened her and her children and has been threatening her for years. She said the man shot and killed her dog in front of her children. Walker said the man called her with a list of items to shoplift on New Year's Day.

Investigators say Walker admitted she was part of an organized retail theft ring, but Bellevue police say she did not tell them she was a victim of extortion or threats when she was arrested.

Walker pleaded guilty to organized retail theft charges in December 2016. She's under Department of Corrections supervision and says she doesn't want to be taken away from her children. She says she plans to stop stealing and get help for herself and her children.

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Previous Coverage: 

Bellevue police arrested a woman who they say brought her 7-year-old son to shoplift at Bellevue Square.

Police say Lavonya Walker, 48, and her 7-year-old son were caught on camera inside Macy's on New Year's Day. The pair moved around the store as loss prevention watched them on camera.

Investigators say the pair stole clothing, purses, perfume, and other items worth more than $1,000.  The little boy can be seen on camera grabbing sunglasses from a display case and taking them back to his mom, according to police.

When the pair tried to leave the store they were stopped by loss prevention officers who called police. The child’s aunt was called to pick him up, according to investigators. Bellevue Police called Child Protective Services.

“This suspect admitted she was involved in organized retail theft, went in with a list of items for a buyer, knew exactly what she wanted, she stole those items which was a felony, “ said Bellevue Police Officer Seth Tyler.

Walker was arrested for theft and booked into the King County Jail. Bellevue Police sent the case to the prosecutor’s office to review and make a charging decision.

KIRO 7 found Walker has an extensive criminal background with convictions for theft, robbery, and assault.