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Couple arrested again after children left alone in car for hours

Tosheba Hope, Gerald Moultrie now face child neglect charges

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – On the heels of temporarily losing custody of her children, Tosheba Hope, 30, has also temporarily lost her freedom.

Hope and her boyfriend, Gerald Moultrie, 24, were both taken into custody after a court hearing Tuesday to determine who should care for their children.

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, Hope and Moultrie stole more than $600 worth of tools and accessories from the Walmart in Lauderdale Lakes.

BSO deputies said the couple failed to tell them that Hope's children -- ages 2, 5 and 7 -- were waiting for them in the car. A shopper discovered the kids in the car about seven hours later.

Hope apparently told detectives they left the children with a 19-year-old cousin, Hope's attorney told Local 10 News.

"That's what the parents told me, that somebody was with the kids when they went into the Walmart," attorney Jeff Levy said.

Hope, who is pregnant, and Moultrie, who is the father of the 2-year-old, were arrested about 7 p.m. Monday, but the kids weren't discovered until about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

They were initially arrested on theft charges but now face child neglect charges.

Ralph Thomas, who is the father of the two oldest children, told Local 10 he doesn't believe Hope's story.

"She has no family here," Thomas said.

Thomas has agreed to take temporary custody of all three kids. He said despite being abandoned in the parking lot while their mother went to jail, the kids are doing fine.

"They told me they were scared, as any child would," Thomas said. "And I was scared, because at 3 o'clock in the morning, what do you expect?"

Follow Roger Lohse on Twitter @RogerLohse

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10