SALEM — A Halloween shopping trip ended badly for a Lowell mother and her two daughters Thursday evening.
Zoraida Gomez, 32, and her 11- and 14-year-old daughters likely all will face charges after they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting and allegedly attacked the officer trying to arrest Gomez.
The trio was at the Mall at Rockingham Park and allegedly tried to steal a "Sexy Secret Service" costume from the Halloween Gallery at about 6:30 p.m. The value of the costume, $56.99, pales in comparison to the $10,000 cash bail Gomez is being held on.
The costume features a clingy knit dress, a shirt-less collar with attached necktie, and a leg garter with removable badge.
The involvement of the two girls is reflective of what Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten calls a "disturbing trend" — parents involving their children in the commission of crimes.
"We are seeing more and more parents committing crimes with their kids or using their kids to commit crimes," Patten said. "It's very disturbing."
As a police officer tried to take Gomez into custody, she resisted. While the two struggled, the 11-year-old "launched herself through the air" from a bench in the mall concourse and punched the officer in the face, Patten said.
The officer was not seriously hurt, Patten said.
The officer, Gomez and the girl were struggling on the floor when the 14-year-old joined in, trying to grab the officer's shirt and arms, Patten said. A second officer arrived and was able to help take the two girls into custody.
While Gomez's daughters were being handcuffed, Gomez tried to kick one of the officers in the face, Patten said. She, too, was taken into custody, but not before the officer received a cut above his eye.
Police expected to execute a search warrant on Gomez's car, which they believe had "well over $1,000" worth of stolen merchandise inside.
Meanwhile Gomez is in jail, charged with receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Police prosecutor Robert Prince said Gomez has a lengthy record in Massachusetts, which includes at least five shoplifting incidents.
Her daughters were released to the custody of another adult. Both are facing charges via juvenile petition of simple assault and resisting arrest.
Claire Renaud, owner of the Halloween Gallery, said theft is a big problem at the store.
"We have a policy where we check bags when people are leaving," Renaud said yesterday. "When we're busy, we have somebody standing at the door and we let people know their bags will be checked."
That's what happened with Gomez and her daughters, Renaud said.
They opened their bag and the store employee found the "Sexy Secret Service" costume inside and notified police.