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Police: Rock Hill mom leaves kids in car to go shopping

A Rock Hill mom has been arrested after police said she left her three children unattended in the car while she went shopping.

The incident happened around 2:34 p.m. Sunday, May 29 at the JCPenney located at 2321 Dave Lyle Boulevard.

Rock Hill police said they were called to the area after four 911 calls came in stating three young girls were locked in a vehicle unattended.

Police were told three children were crying in a white Chrysler Sebring Convertible, and that several of the callers were standing by. Upon arrival, officers saw a large crowd standing around the vehicle.

Police observed the windows were cracked, but the vehicle was not running.

The three female children had red, flushed faces and all three appeared to have been crying.

Their mom, Tiffany Smith, had reportedly gone into JCPenney to return items but was unable to advise police how long she had been inside.

Police spoke to Smith who said she had been in the store for about 5-10 minutes to return several items. Mall security advised they had video of her entering the store about 27 minutes prior to police arriving on scene.

Smith was advised of this and said, "I didn't think it was that long, what's the problem?"

Police explained to Smith that kids cannot be left in a vehicle unattended.

Smith replied, "I understand that but can't you just give me a ticket...think about my kid's wellbeing."

The responding officer explained the children's wellbeing was his only concern. Smith said that if that was the case - she should be allowed to leave.

Police asked to then check Smith's bag that she brought out with her from JCPenney. The responding officer was unable to locate a receipt in the bag for any of the items. Smith said she was returning them without a receipt but could not explain why after 27 minutes the items have not yet been returned.

Police then went into JCPenney and spoke with Loss Prevention who said Smith entered the store with two items but could not advise how she got other items in her bag - or if the items were a part of inventory as inventory had not updated in 48 hours.

Smith's boyfriend arrived on scene shortly after and agreed to take custody of the three children. Smith signed a custody release to release all three kids to him.

Smith is charged with three counts of unlawful conduct towards a child.

This case has been forwarded to the Department of Social Services in Rock Hill.