Police identify suspect in theft of 1-year old's earrings at day care

Art McFarland reports live from the Hunts Point section of Bronx
December 11, 2013 7:38:01 AM PST
Police say they have identified the woman who stole a 1-year old girl's earrings at a Bronx day care center.

The NYPD released a photo of the suspect, 21-year old Desire Santiago.

Investigators say surveillance video shows her removing the earrings from Maia Santana Dec. 5 at the center in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx.

When she came home that day without the earrings, her mother inquired into the matter at the day care center.

"It hurts. It really, really hurts, and just talking about it upsets me. It just really, I trusted you," said Samantha Viera, Maia's mother.

The parents were given access to the surveillance video by the owner of the Eleanor Day Care Center.

"There was no way I could see what really happened unless I see it, and I saw it," said Oregulia Perez-Santos, day care owner.

Both the parents and the center tell us that the woman, at first, lied about what happened to the earrings, saying they had been lost.

"My daughter is so defenseless. She can't even talk, you know? It just makes no sense," said Andrew Santana, Maia's father.

Her mother says the pierced earrings; 14 carat gold and diamond, were a gift from Maia's grandfather that her parents say they never could have afforded themselves.

The earrings are still missing. Her mother says she is thankful, only that Maia was not hurt.

"She did grab her head a little aggressively after she removed them, and you could see her release her," Viera said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at http://WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.