We've heard of middle-aged moms who scratch babies. Also, middle-aged moms who whip men dressed as babies. Also, ones who send young boys dirty pics of their middle-aged mom bods via cell phone.

But Belinda Berumen, the 42-year-old mom from Montebello who police say has been stealing religious jewelry from her child's first- and second-grade classmates at Washington Elementary School, creeps us out on another level. A spiritual level, even [Pasadena Star-News].

Something about those golden, glittering little treasures made Berumen into a crazed mama bird at nesting time:

Montebello police Sergeant Mike Flores told the Star-News that, after being arrested at her home Wednesday, she admitted to at least three of the five thefts reported since May (though he thinks there have probably been more).

The weirdest part is how almost lovingly she allegedly went about it:

Flores said investigators believe Berumen used ruses to take jewelry from the students. He said sometimes she would offer to hold the jewelry while the children played so it wouldn't get lost and then leave the area before they returned. Other times she would tell the students there was something wrong with their jewelry and take it from them while offering to fix it.

The trinkets were apparently not fakes, because Berumen was arrested on suspicion of grand theft and placed under $25,000 bail. This thieving Valley girl may even be — dare we say it — worse than Lindsay Lohan.

Poor Montebello. The city's facing quite the city-coffer scandal at the moment, what with $1 million gone missing from a secret bank account under the watch of a former city manager. It's definitely turned into Bell: the San Gabriel Valley edition, and the last thing it needs is some sticky-fingered Jesus freak to plunge it further into suburban shamedom.

But anyway, if your child attends Washington Elementary and is missing a Jesus or Virgin Mary pendant, the man to call is Detective Mark Newton, at (323) 887-1256. And say your prayers, or whatever.


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