Apparently, at Orchard Villa Elementary near Liberty City, if you see a student wearing something fancy you'd like to get your hands on, you can just go to the front office, pretend to be the child's relative, check them out of class, and then grab whatever it is you want and take off. That's basically what Ashley McCloud did, according to police. Now she's behind bars, and officials at the school are under fire.
Update: Miami-Dade schools officials say they've reviewed security measures and interviewed witnesses and don't believe the student's mom is telling the truth about the theft. "All security measures were followed properly," says John Schuster, chief communications officer for the district.
McCloud, 19, went to the school's front office and pretended to be the aunt of 5-year-old Rania Kimpson according to WSVN
. Kimpson is enrolled in the Head Start program at the school. McCloud told officials at the school she was on the phone with the girl's father and needed to see her. McCloud was able to take the girl into the hallway. That's when she stole her gold necklace.
"We later retrieved the chain, but my thing is, you guys are not watching the kids. All it takes is for a blink of an eye, and your child is gone. This is a very serious matter," Kimpson's mother, Jermika Guyton, told WSVN
. "The school didn't do anything, Early Headstart didn't do anything to protect my child. Anything could have happened to my daughter. Anything!"
Police located found McCloud and, indeed, retrieved the chain hours later. She's now behind bars facing charges of robbery and trespassing on school property.
The Head Start program and the Miami-Dade school district plan to review the incident and find out how the woman was allowed into the school.
Update: Schuster says that witness interviews and a security review have poked some holes in Guyton's story.
McCloud was allowed into the school because she was dropping off another student, and she followed the usual procedures to sign in first, he says. What's more, witnesses say that McCloud never left the cafeteria where parents and guardians drop off kids at the school, Schuster says.
"She came into the school legitimately and she never left the cafeteria," he says. "For someone to go on TV and say a complete stranger came into the school and took something from their child is totally incorrect."
Schuster says witnesses say that Guyton and McCloud seemed to know each other. The spokesman also questioned the wisdom of sending a five-year-old to school in the first place wearing an expensive chain.