A mother of two was arrested after allegedly using one of her daughters as a “lookout” during a liquor store theft in which she was accused of stealing thousands of dollars, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
The incident occurred at the Mojave Liquor store in Landers, north of Yucca Valley, about 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, authorities said in a Thursday morning news release from the sheriff’s Morongo Basin Station.
Deputies responded to a robbery alarm at the business and contacted Jesus Cervantes, a clerk at the store. Cervantes told deputies that a young girl had asked for help reaching an item at the back of the store.
He left the front counter to assist the girl. When Cervantes returned to the front of the store, he discovered a drawer open and a bank bag with the day’s funds missing, the release stated.
The juvenile’s mother, 35-year-old Jennifer Brannon, of Landers, arrived at the store and was questioned by deputies, according to the release. Brannon told a different story than her daughter, authorities said.
Brannon and the girl were detained while authorities investigated. The store’s owner turned over surveillance video to deputies.
Investigators later learned that Brannon used one of the daughters to distract the clerk, while another daughter was used as a “lookout,” the release stated.
The mother — wearing a cover over her face, as well as gloves — entered the store while the clerk was distracted and allegedly stole several thousand dollars, then ran out to an awaiting vehicle.
The daughter used to distract the clerk was left behind, while Brannon picked up the daughter who had been the “lookout.” She was left in the desert with the cash and suspect clothing while her mother prepared to go back to the store to pick up the other girl, the release stated.
Several hours later, deputies discovered the daughter near the desert location where she had been left. She was allegedly in possession of the stolen cash at the time, authorities said.
The stolen bank bag and clothing were found buried nearby.
Brannon was booked into Morongo Jail on charges of burglary and child endangerment, according to the release and inmate records.
She has since been released. A court date is pending.
The release did not state how old the daughters were, nor if they had been removed from their mother’s custody.