Woman hides thousands in merchandise in child’s stroller in North Naples

A Collier County woman is accused of hiding her theft with a child that wasn’t hers.

Thursday, Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrested Sara Ellen Abbott, 32, for stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise in North Naples recently.

“People are desperate, and it’s desperate times,” Luke Trautwein said. “And people just do crazy things.”

According to CCSO, surveillance video showed Abbott hiding a $3,000 purse and an $1,100 wallet from a Louis Vuitton store while she was with a child in a stroller.

“It doesn’t matter if you steal a pack of gum or a Mercedes,” Grayson Wolf said. “It’s not yours.”

Investigators say Abbott slid items behind the child’s stroller at the Waterside Shops.

“This woman may not have come across as a real threat while she was pushing a stroller with a baby, a good diversionary tactic, and it worked for her at least once,” said Rich Kolko, WINK News Safety & Security Specialist.

Kolko said, even with all the security at the shops, sometimes thieves still find a way to steal.

“Whether it’s a low-end store or a high-end store, they are all susceptible to being shoplifted,” Kolko said.

Investigators were able to find Abbott thanks to surveillance video outside Saks Fifth Avenue a few weeks later. The child in the stroller was not her child. The little girl’s mother picked her up safely.

Abbott faces a charge for grand theft and has bonded out of Collier County jail.

“Most people don’t steal what they need,” Wolf said. “They steal what they want.”

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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