Cops: Shoplifter left daughter, 2, behind

Andrew Surplus, 39, is accused of leaving his 2-year-old daughter at a Morton department store after being caught shoplifting.
Andrew Surplus, 39, is accused of leaving his 2-year-old daughter at a Morton department store after being caught shoplifting. (Peter Mucha)
Posted: October 20, 2010

A Ridley Township mother is happy to have her 2-year-old daughter back, as police seek the father, who allegedly abandoned the girl after being caught shoplifting.

The incident reportedly happened early Saturday afternoon at the Kohl's department store on Baltimore Pike in Morton.

Andrew Surplus, 39, allegedly tucked five leather jackets valued at $2,250 into a bag attached to a store stroller carrying his daughter, Aubrey. Exiting, he was confronted by a security guard, who called to Morton police officer patrolling the parking lot.

Camera images show Surplus leaving his daughter - and the coats - as he sprinted inside. He apparently fled through a storage room out the back door, police said.

By 3:30 p.m., County & Youth Services had found a foster family to look after the child. About an hour-and-a-half later, the mother, Jackie Walker, contacted police, explaining that Surplus called to say Aubrey was with authorities.

Walker had to wait several days to get Aubrey back, as youth services did background checks.

"She just said, like, 'Mom!' and she held her hands out and she ran over to me and I just lost it," Walker told CBS3.

She had a message for Surplus, too: "Please just turn yourself in. Do the right thing for your daughter. You owe her this."

"What parent in their right mind would just leave their child there?" she said.

After staying for several days in West Grove, Chester County, Surplus may be back in the Delaware County area, police believe. He had been driving a dark green 1995 Mercury Sable station wagon with Pennsylvania tag GZC-8932.

According to a police poster, Surplus is wanted on charges of felony retail theft and endangering the welfare of a child.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Morton Police at 610-544-8770.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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