The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office said the 34-year-old woman was spotted at Kohl's department store in Fort Walton Beach Dec. 14 with a man and two teenage girls, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported Thursday.
Deputies said the foursome were stopped while leaving the store and the woman, whose purse was full of unpaid items from the store, threw her handbag at the employee and all four shoppers fled in different directions.
The two teenage girls were stopped from escaping by an employee and they told deputies the woman was their mother and the man was their stepfather. They said they knew their mother was attempting to shoplift from the store.
Police said one of the girls received a text message from the woman while they were being questioned.
"Are you running?" the message asked. "Hide her from the cops and stay together."
The woman, whose name was not released, was arrested and charged with larceny, crimes against a person and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.