Warrant issued for couple accused of targeting Lou. day cares


by Brooke Hasch and Karma Dickerson


Posted on January 29, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 30 at 7:30 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- St. Matthews Police said they've identified the two suspects responsible for multiple day care thefts in the area.

Detectives believe Duane Acklin and Tamera Jenkins are the two people caught on surveillance cameras attempting to rob personal belongings from staff at Sproutlings day care. Photos of the couple hit the air Tuesday night, Jan. 28, causing a flurry of phone calls into the police department.

The two allegedly posed as parents shopping for child care for their 2-year-old. They used the same story with at least six day cares in St. Matthews and Metro Louisville, in the last week.

"You feel angry, you feel violated that someone is going to come in and try an take advantage in a situation, especially with kids being there, safety is a huge concern," Matt Stack, a parent, said.

Stack is a father of two children who go to Cornerstone Child Development, another day care police say Acklin and Jenkins targeted. The list included: Friends School, Kribs to Kids, Ajabuland Childcare and Buttons, Britches and Bows.

Sproutlings staff said the suspects asked to tour their facility and left after noticing the cameras, but not before attempting to steal from a woman's purse at the welcome desk.

"We're a very small center so I was surprised that they'd come here," Sharon Mohn, the director of Ajabuland, said.

The couple stole Mohn's wallet, while she was in the process of giving them a tour of the facility. The man asked to use the restroom and returned a minute later.

"Gave them an application, talked for a couple more minutes as they were walking out the door and that was it," Mohn said.

Half an hour later, Mohn noticed her wallet was missing and called 911 to report the theft.

Not all day cares have surveillance video in place, as it's a costly technology. But the recent thefts have parents and staff at Cornerstone revisiting the issue.

"We're actually getting behind an effort to install some cameras, a more-higher-end security system, not to prevent something like this from happening but to make you feel more at ease at what's happening at the center," Stack said.

Meanwhile, police have handed the case over to a Jefferson County judge who will decide what charges to bring against Acklin and Jenkins, who are no strangers to the court system. Acklin has a long criminal history including assault and domestic violence. Jenkins was on probation for a 2012 assault involving family.

"If anyone comes into contact with them, use caution and call police as soon as they possibly can," Det. Barbara Shepard, with St. Matthews Police, said. "They made an adult decision to do this and they need to face the consequences."

Detective Shepard said there's no evidence to suggest the two intended to hurt any of the children or staff members at the facilities they allegedly targeted.  However, the suspects both have violent criminal histories.
Jenkins was sentenced to five years probation in May of 2013 after pleading guilty to physically fighting with her sister and ordering her four year old son to stab her sister. Her sister's children were cut as they tried to defend their mother.
Fifty-five-year-old Acklin's criminal record spans 20 years with charges of theft, burglary and assault.

Police are also looking at connections to thefts in New Albany. Officials said the couple was last seen driving a green Ford Mustang with Kentucky plates reading: 782 PAB.