CONYERS, Ga. - This is an incredible story that sounds like something from Dickens' "Oliver Twist".
A Rockdale County mother is accused of using her own 5-year-old son to help burglarize her next door neighbor's home.
"I just couldn't believe it; I mean, it was unreal; I was so shocked," the burglary victim told 11Alive News on Friday.
The woman, who doesn't want to be publicly identified, said she installed a small computer surveillance camera around Thanksgiving after noticing things missing from her home a few weeks ago.
"I would come home in the evenings and things would not be where they were," the victim said.
Then last Sunday she noticed the camera and some other items were missing.
But her computer still contained several photos that shocked her.
It showed a child, wearing footie pajamas, crawling through a small doggie door in the back of her home, then unlocking a back door next to it and letting an adult woman in.
The victim told 11 Alive the pair entered her home around 8:30 Saturday morning and the woman came back alone after 10 am.
She immediately recognized the woman as her next door neighbor, who'd visited her home before.
It didn't take Rockdale County Sheriff Investigators long to arrest that neighbor, 25-year-old Cheryl Keele.
The child who'd crawled through the doggie door is Keele's own 5-year-old son.
Even investigators couldn't believe it.
"Never seen that in my career so far and it's just unbelievable," Sheriff Investigator Michael Camp told 11 Alive.
"I know most parents out there are just shocked at this story," he added.
In the police report, the victim reported prescription drugs, a pistol and a jar of small change missing, as well as her new computer camera.
The report said the camera was found in the neighbor's home, but not the other missing items.
Cheryl Keele was jailed on a burglary charge, but Investigator Camp said she could face additional counts, like contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
"I think it's horrible, in fact, that might be what shocked me more than anything because, you know, she's been in trouble before, but is she teaching her kids to do this?" the victim said to 11 Alive.
She and some other neighbors told 11 Alive News the burglary suspect often asked if she could borrow pain medications.
The victim believes Keele may need some help, like rehab.
Meanwhile, she said Keele's husband apologized for what happened and claimed he had no idea what was going on.
For now, Keele's 5-year-old son and another son, age 3, are in the custody of their father.
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