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Belleville Mom Steals Her Kids' Christmas Haul For Crack

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bowers.jpg
n perhaps the saddest news we've heard all day, a Belleville woman is in the St. Clair County Jail for selling her kids' Christmas gifts for money to buy crack.

The mom, 35-year-old Sandra J. Bowers, hocked gifts worth about $1,000 and spent the money on rock. The gifts had been purchased for Bowers' children and their cousins by their grandmother.

As reported in the Post-Dispatch, Bowers' mother already had taken out a restraining order against her addicted daughter, because Bowers had previously stolen jewelry, tools and a car from her. The kids, four and five-year-old boys, had been staying with their grandmother.

Bowers' mother, Pamela Gyon, told the P-D that she thought her daughter had kicked her habit. So she took her shopping for the kids, using the monthly disability check her cancer-patient husband receives. She also let Bowers stay the night. They left the toys in the car so they boys wouldn't see them.

That night, Bowers drove away -- taking the gifts with her.

The police found Bowers' at the EJ Motel in Belleville after her mother reported the car and gifts stolen. She'd sold the toys at pawn shops and on the street in East St. Louis, and was driving and holding a crack pipe when they found her. She's been charged with a felony for violating the restraining order, despite being invited by her mother; the police are also looking into theft charges. Bowers' bond is set at $50,000.

Crack addiction is a desperate kind of sickness. The boys will probably get over one terrible, giftless Christmas, but they need their mom. Here's hoping that Santa brings Bowers a long stay in a good rehab program.
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