DEERFIELD BEACH (CBSMiami) — The Broward Sheriff’s Office said they’ve arrested a suspected thief who took two young children with him during his crime.

BSO said AJ Bryant faces a total of six charges including two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child.

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Investigators said Bryant and his two teenage nephews, ages 16 and 15, stole appliances from two vacant homes in Deerfield Beach on Monday morning. But BSO said the trio didn’t know a witness was watching the crime unfold.

“This witness did a great job, being astute, getting lots of details and calling 911,” said BSO Spokesperson Dani Moschella.

Click here to watch Carey Codd’s report. 

BSO said the witness’ info helped detectives bust Bryant with the stolen appliances in the back of a truck and investigators said they found two young children in the vehicle with Bryant.

“He also shocked us all by having a 3-year and a 10-year in the car with him,” Moschella said. “It’s not only shocking, it’s unsafe. They were committing crimes. That’s a dangerous place for children to be.”

BSO said the children were released to their mother. Bryant’s mother-in-law Carrie Evans spoke to CBS4’s Carey Codd Tuesday night.

“Do you want to tell us about what happened and how the kids are doing?” a reporter asked her.
“The kids are alright,” Evans said.

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She said she loaned Bryant her truck and she had no idea of Bryant’s intentions. She said that truck was seized by BSO and that she needs the truck back to transport her wheelchair. She said times are tough but that doesn’t condone Bryant’s alleged actions.

“Everybody have hard times,” Evans said. “It’s tough but everybody make it. Try to make it on their own without messing with anybody else’s stuff.”

BSO said there is a larger lesson for landlords — to maintain your properties.

“If you do have a vacant home, it’s smart to make it look like it’s lived in,” Moschella said. “Keep the window treatments up, mow the lawn and check on that home occasionally to make sure it hasn’t been burglarized.”

The Broward Sheriff’s Office said they are investigating Bryant to see if he is connected to any similar crimes in the area.

BSO said they cannot say whether the two children with Bryant are his children; however, the arrest report in the case said Child Protective Services will investigate the allegations.

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