Woman: Child's Grave 'Theft' of Toy Was to Protect It From Dog (Video)

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 12:52 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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An Ohio woman who was charged with snatching a stuffed animal from a child's grave this week told police she took it because there was a dog on the loose and she didn’t want it to destroy the toy.

Frieda Kay Shade, 54, of Mansfield, Ohio, turned herself in to police Wednesday night after graveyard surveillance footage of her allegedly taking the stuffed animal gained traction on social media, the Mansfield News Journal reported.

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Shade has been charged with one count of first-degree theft for purportedly swiping a stuffed duck from the grave of Hayden "Tank" Cole Sheridan, a local boy who died in 2007 at just 14 months old. She will plead not guilty to the misdemeanor, attorney Charles Robinson told reporters.

The woman, who has a rap sheet that includes charges of check fraud and tax crimes, reportedly told police she took the toy because there was a dog on the loose in the area and she didn’t want it to take the duck.

"The video is there, we're not denying that. But video evidence does not show what a person is thinking. There are mitigating circumstances," Robinson told the News Journal. "We all have sympathy for a child who has expired. We know how hard that is, and we sympathize with that."

The surveillance cameras were reportedly set up because there has been a string of thefts at Hayden Cole Sheridan's gravesite.

"They've definitely experienced enough theft over the years," detective Jon Sigler told the News Journal. "In 2012, they noticed some solar lights were gone when all the graves around had theirs."

The family commented only briefly on Shade and the whole ordeal.

"I have no idea yet how I feel about [the arrest]. I’m kind of in shock and have had no chance to think about it," Scott Sheridan, Hayden's father, told the newspaper.

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