Santa Rosa, CA – August 13, 2018 – District
Attorney Jill Ravitch has announced that defendant Tina Szczepanek, 42-years-old
of Lakeport, CA was sentenced today by the Honorable Judge Dana Simonds to 8 years
prison for violating her probation.
On March 15,
2017, the defendant entered a plea of no contest to the only charge alleged on
the complaint, PC208, Kidnapping of a Child under 14 years of Age. She was
sentenced to probation, one year in jail, ordered to enroll in a counseling
program, and given a suspended sentence of 8 years in prison. On March 22,
2018, Szczepanek was back in custody for a violation of probation.
violated her probation by using a controlled substance, failing to complete the
counseling program, and failing to report to probation. Ms. Szczepanek admitted
the violation and the court imposed the suspended sentence of eight years in
Attorney Ravitch stated, “The crime committed by this defendant is a family’s
nightmare, but thanks to the quick thinking of the victim’s mother, nothing
further happened. Nonetheless, the egregious conduct of the defendant merits
the sentence she received.”
resulted from the crime committed on December 8, 2016, at the Trader Joe’s on
Santa Rosa Avenue. The victim, who is four years old, was shopping at Trader
Joe’s with her mother. While the victim’s mom was in line at the check-stand,
she walked away from her mother to return the child’s shopping cart at a
location near the front entrance.
When the victim
returned the cart, Szczepanek was standing inside the store about thirty feet
from the front entrance. Szczepanek then walked towards the victim, squatted
down and picked her up. Szczepanek told the victim she did not know where her
mother was and that she may be outside. Szczepanek then carried the victim
outside. The victim’s mom quickly chased after the defendant and stopped her
about thirty feet outside the store. The victim’s mom yelled at Szcepzenk and
she placed the victim down and walked away. The victim did not suffer any
injuries and quickly returned to her mother after being released.
The case was
prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Javier Vaca. The Santa Rose Police
Department headed the investigation.