By Lemor Abrams

KEYES (CBS13) — Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputies are on the hunt for a man they’re calling the “father of the year,” who’s accused of using his little girl as a decoy to steal from Dollar General stores around the county.

Deputy Raj Singh says the man was caught in surveillance photos, not once or twice but possibly dozens of times, using his daughter to steal about $1,000 worth of items from dollar general stores in a matter of months.

“Grabbing items and placing it in her hands and then going towards the back of the store putting her down and getting the items and concealing them on his body and then walking out the store,” said Singh.

RELATED: Search On For Man Who Used Child To Help Him Hide, Steal Items

Detectives say he’s taken things like household goods and food. But they’re not concerned about the stolen stuff.

“As bad as the theft is, our primary concern is the welfare of this child,” Singh said.

“That’s low. To actually use a child to commit a crime come on,” one shopper said outside a Dollar General in Keyes.

For others, the crime is so heartbreaking, they say they’re reserving judgment.

“That’s a horrible thing to expose your child to. Teaching them a bad lesson. And as I walked through the store I thought I don’t really know their story I don’t know what they’re going through,” another shopper said.

Detectives aren’t being so soft though. Petty theft is a misdemeanor. But they’re hoping a child endangerment charge will make it a felony.

“They should definitely get more time just for using a child,” a shopper said.

Dollar General’s corporate office wouldn’t comment on the thefts.
For now, detectives are asking store employees and the general public not to confront the father-daughter duo if seen, but to call 911 instead.

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