Local News

Christmas money stolen from sisters at Durham mall

Posted December 27, 2015

— Some after-Christmas shopping ended in heartbreak for two young girls in Durham after their family said thieves stole money, clothes, and gift cards while they were shopping at the mall Saturday night.

On Sunday, 7-year-old Sydnee Shumate and her 9-year-old sister, Taylor, were singing with their Grandma, but on Saturday night they were shedding tears. The money they had earned from their lemonade stand, Christmas money, gift cards, Taylor’s iPod, and new sweaters were all gone.

“We took a trip to the mall so the girls could spend some of their Christmas money, that was the whole point of the trip,” said the girls’ mother, Janelle Shumate.

The whole family was at the Streets at Southpoint when Sydnee and Taylor’s two-year-old brother needed a diaper change and the family inadvertently left his stroller, which was holding the shopping bags, unattended for a few minutes outside of J.C. Penney.

“It was devastating for it to be the day after Christmas, for the excitement of Christmas to end with this sort of this is devastating,” said Janelle Shumate.

Mall security referred all questions to mall managers, who were not available for comment Sunday. The Shumates said that surveillance video from security cameras shows a couple stealing from their stroller.

Janelle Shumate said that learning there are people who steal joy, rather than spread it, was a tough lesson for her two little girls to learn.

“Maybe it’s helpful to know now what it feels like so that they always make sure that if they see someone else doing wrong, that they will encourage the person to do the right thing as well,” she said.

The girls were already speaking words of encouragement following the theft.

“As a Christian, you shouldn’t get really mad at the enemy, you should really pray for them so they would do better,” said Sydnee Shumate.

Mall security has filed a report with Durham police but the Shumates said they’re not concerned about seeing someone arrested, they just want their belongings returned.


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  • Jon Brabender Dec 28, 2015
    user avatar

    I live in Cary and shop at Southpoint all the time. Regarding "Could have happened at Cary Towne Center"...Cary Towne Center is much sketchier than Southpoint. People that continuously bash Durham need to spend some time there before painting the whole city as "dangerous". Yes, there are areas that I would not be walking around in even during the day...I could say the same thing about any other city of Durham's size. Southpoint and American Tobacco and Duke Campus are great places to spend time and you are missing out if you don't. Obviously a "crime of opportunity...people need to use common sense whenever/wherever they are.

  • Megan Alto Dec 28, 2015
    user avatar

    This same thing could have happened at Cary Towne Center, bad people and thieves are everywhere. The girls have a great attitude about the situation even though they are sad about it. I don't even let my purse leave my body...trust no one

  • Roy Jones Dec 28, 2015
    user avatar

    Do you expect any different in Durham, lucky they weren't shot

  • Paul Donovan Dec 28, 2015
    user avatar

    If they have the perps on surveillance video how about releasing the video or at least a description. Oh, that's right...never mind

  • LetsBeFair Dec 28, 2015

    Lee ... you didn't say how long you've lived here. Durham is heavily policed these days. I've worked in Durham over 20 yrs. While I agree there has been progress, most crime there never makes the news. Durham is a h crime city, and that's the facts, not bias.

  • LetsBeFair Dec 28, 2015

    It just takes a heartless person to steal stuff from a baby carriage.

  • Lee McNeill Dec 27, 2015
    user avatar

    Letsbefair its not a Durham this is a dishonest thing. But for the record i live in durham but moved here for college. Every negative thing that has happened was in wake county so based on that i feel safer in Durham.

  • LetsBeFair Dec 27, 2015

    Its really bad, they should be concerned about seeing someone arrested. Its part of the problem that if they get the ones that committed the crime into trouble then they become targets themselves once the bad guys are out of jail. Its the vicious little cycle of Durham.

  • Vera McGraw Dec 27, 2015
    user avatar

    never leave personal items/purse unsecured in a public place......no purse in the cart, items of value in a bag, or on a baby stroller....do not trust that people will behave.....