Mom's financial plan lands family in jail. Photo courtesy of sxc.hu.
Desperate times may call for desperate measures, but this is ridiculous: A mother in Phoenix, Arizona recently lost her job and was having trouble coming up with the money to pay her bills. In order to make ends meet, she pulled out the most powerful weapon in a mother's arsenal: Guilt. Police say 51-year-old Cynthia Roberson guilted her 12 and 14-year-old sons and five of their friends into embarking on an armed robbery spree in order to raise funds to pay her rent and car loan.
In all, police say Roberson's accomplices, ages 12 to 20, committed at least 20 armed robberies while she drove the getaway car and brandished a sawed-off shotgun. Their victims were random strangers, most between the ages of 13 and 20, who were assaulted in parks and on neighborhood streets.
The kids clearly weren't all that experienced in the art of theft: In at least one instance, the mom had to coach her 14-year-old on the proper way to separate a victim from his cell phone. Police don't know how much money the gang of thieves netted, but say a 13-year-old victim was beaten in a holdup that yielded only an orange lollipop.
They are all facing charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault. Currently, the 12-year-old is in the custody of Child Protective Services while the 14-year-old and two of his friends are being held in juvenile jail. Mom and three others, an 18-year-old and two 20-year-olds, are being held in the Maricopa County jail.
In what must surely be the understatement of the year, Phoenix police Sgt. Phil Roberts stresses that this is not an example of good parenting. "All of us should be disgusted by this," he says. "This is absolutely not how to raise your children."