NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Patchogue couple was arraigned Monday after allegedly leaving three young children unattended in a running, unlocked car.
Suffolk County police responded to a call at the Gateway Plaza parking lot around 6:20 p.m. on Sunday and discovered a 6-month-old boy, a 5-year-old girl, and an 8-year-old boy in a 2012 Hyundai Accent.
The children had been in the car for about an hour before their parents returned from shopping at Marshalls, police said. The outdoor temperature was 31 degrees at the time.
But Sarah Hayes said her kids were never out of sight.
“Some kind of serious, grave misunderstanding,” Sarah Hayes said Monday. “I love my kids. I love my kids with all my heart.”
“There’s cameras in that mall that you will be able to see when I was there, when I walked in and when I came out – a 15-minute span at most,” Hayes added.
Donald Hayes, 33, and Sarah Hayes, 34, of Patchogue were arrested and charged with three counts each of endangering the welfare of a child.
“I think it’s horrible, especially this day in age. You shouldn’t be leaving kids alone anywhere. So if they got arrested, that’s good,” neighbor James Lugo told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Monday.
Sarah Hayes was released on a promise to appear while Donald Hayes was held on $1,000 bail. The judge cited a criminal record in setting bail.
She will be able to see her children, who were placed with relatives, Gusoff reported.
A second incident of a child being left in a car in Suffolk County was reported on Sunday.
Marcela Monaco, 39, of Bayville was arrested after leaving her 4-year-old son and a dog unattended in a locked car as she went shopping in Huntington.
Police determined the boy was left in the car without heat for about 20 minutes.
Monaco was also arraigned on child endangerment charges on Monday and released on the promise to appear.
New York State law does not specify age a child can be left alone in a car. It’s up to the discretion of police to assess the child’s age, the weather and the length of time to determine if a child is in danger, Gusoff reported.
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