Woman breaks into cars while children wait in mall, police say

Suspect claims she was looking for jumper cables

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach police stress that stealing is wrong but said stealing with children in tow is worse.

Police arrested Michelle Rocco, 47, on Tuesday for reportedly breaking into cars at the Volusia Mall.

"Somebody was recording this individual while she was trying the door handles on various cars," said Lyda Long, police spokesperson.

Officers said Rocco stole artwork from one car and trashed another in the Dillard's parking lot, while her two children, ages 10 and 15, were inside the mall.

"I guess she was going to start doing her thing and the kids just decided to go into the mall and wait," Long said.

Shoppers called police and took video, and told police Rocco tried to leave but got stranded in the parking lot.

"She left somebody's car open, now she's asking, she needs a jump for her car. She's trying to get away," said one shopper on the phone with 911.

Police arrested Rocco, who they said was hiding behind her car, and told them she was only pulling on door handles to find a jumper cables.

Rocco appeared before a judge on Wednesday. The judge said she's had a couple of prior thefts and set her bond at $2,200. Her children were turned over to a sibling.

"It's unfortunate that she decided to do what she did and take her kids with her," Long said.

About the Author:

Loren Korn is a native Texan who joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2014. She was born and raised in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism.