SADDLE BROOK, N.J. -- Surveillance video released by Saddle Brook police of a woman instructing her young son to steal a cellphone that was dropped on the floor of a local restaurant led to her arrest Friday, authorities told Daily Voice.
Myra Rodriguez, 37, a Honduran national living in Garfield, turned herself in Friday morning and was booked on charges of theft and child endangerment, Police Chief Robert Kugler said.
"The release of the video to the media led to several tips," Kugler told Daily Voice. "We followed up on each and every one of them and identified her.
"This reinforces the fact that our society, as a whole, knew it has an obligation to assist us in making sure she needed to be held accountable for her actions," he added. "I thank the media and the many people who agreed her actions were just plain wrong, especially having a minor child be involved."
The cellphone reportedly was mailed back to police amid media coverage sparked when Daily Voice published the video, the chief said.
They hadn't received it as of noon Friday, he said.
"We're checking with the post office. They indicated it may be possible it it still being processed in the Teterboro regional facility," Kugler said.
The victims were waiting to be seated at the Hibachi Grill and Buffet on Route 46 around 6 p.m. Sunday when the son, without realizing it, dropped his father's Galaxy 4 mini smartphone, the chief said.
The $600 phone was in a black OtterBox case worth $100, he said.
Soon after the phone hits the floor, the video (above) shows, another family heads toward the exit.
The woman motions to her son to pick up the phone, who looks back to see whether anyone notices as he rushed out the door.
"This isn't what a mother should do," Kugler said. "She should have told him to bring it to the counter or give it to a restaurant employee....Shame on her."
Rodriguez was released on a summons to appear in Saddle Brook Municipal Court on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
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