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Mother arrested after kids panhandled!

NEW YORK (AP) - Police say an unemployed suburban mother of five found a quick way to make ends meet: turning her children into panhandlers.

Antoinette Jones, 37, pleaded not guilty to endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, at an arraignment Tuesday in Yonkers, a New York City suburb. A judge issued an order that bars her from her five children, and released her without bail.

It was not immediately known where the children were placed. Police said the case was referred to Child Protective Services, but agency officials declined to comment.

Police said they discovered the panhandling when Jones' 11-year-old son was reported missing at a Pathmark supermarket Monday night.

When police arrived, Jones' 18-year-old daughter told them that her mother had made them walk several miles from their home to the supermarket, where they were told to stand outside and beg for money, police said.

The boy returned to the store several hours later; police didn't know where he had gone.

The 18-year-old told police her mother frequently forced the children to beg at stores, saying they often picked up $30 to $40 at a time.

Jones and her daughter were taken to the police precinct, where the mother was arrested. She told police she was on public assistance.

Jones' attorney, Joseph Cosgrove of Hartsdale, declined to comment.

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