Mon, Jun 5, 2023 4:47 PM
OVIEDO, Fla. (AP) — Shoppers at a Florida mall managed to pull two children out of a burning car after their mother left them alone while she shoplifted, police said.
The vehicle caught fire May 26 outside the Oviedo Mall, just northeast of Orlando, Oviedo police said. The children were taken to Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. One child suffered first degree burns “to her face and ears,” an arrest report said.
Alicia Moore, 24, faces charges of aggravated child neglect and arson. She pleaded not guilty at a hearing Friday.
Defense attorney Michael Schoenberg said in an email that the public defender's office is looking forward to investigating the case.
“We are confident that the facts will show that she would never willfully harm her children,” Schoenberg said.
Mall security saw Moore and an unknown man shoplifting in a Dillard's department store, according to the arrest report. After about an hour, Moore began leaving Dillard's to see her car engulfed in flames and dropped the merchandise before she left the store.
Police said they don't know what caused the fire but said it's unlikely the children would been injured if Moore “was not being neglectful.” Moore was charged with arson because the fire occurred while she was allegedly committing a felony, the report said.