PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A mother is accused of stealing from a convenience store and using her son to do so.

The woman, 28-year-old Christine Marie Petrarulo of Butler, is accused of robbing the Country Town Convenience Store in Butler Township around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday.

For Mary Ann Campbell, theft isn’t new at the Country Town convenience store. They were held up at knifepoint a couple of years ago, but this crime really bothers her.

“I don’t think much of her,” said Campbell, the store clerk. “I’m a mother myself, and a grandmother and a great-grandmother, and I would never use my kids to divert somebody just to steal money.”

Petrarulo is accused of using her two sons, one age 9 and the other almost 10, to steal money from a register. Authorities say it started when one of the children needed to use the restroom.

“Went out to open the door for the child so he could go to the bathroom, and while I was out doing that, the lady that he was with apparently had come back behind the counter and opened my cash drawer and took money out of it,” said Campbell.

Then, Petrarulo was gone, but she left one of the boys behind.

“He wasn’t sure which direction she went, and so I asked the kid to stay inside till either she came back or somebody came for him,” Campbell said.

KDKA’s Paul Martino: “You mean she left the kid behind?”

Campbell: “Yes.”

When police arrived, they questioned the little boy and then found his mother nearby.

“Ultimately, we recovered the money off of one of her children,” said Detective David Fish, of Butler Township Police.

Police say the money was in the little boy’s pocket.

The boys are now in the custody of Children and Youth Services.

“I feel bad for the child, or children, because now they’re in the hands of CYS,” said Campbell. “And I feel kind of guilty about that, but I had no choice.”

Petrarulo is being held in the Butler County Jail on $10,000 bond.

She is charged with reckless endangerment of a child, corruption of a minor, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

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