SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Anthony Perez says his girlfriend’s one year old son had been shopping with him for hours while she was busy at work on Thanksgiving.
He didn’t want the boy to stand in a line outside KMart, though, so he locked him in his car with the heat on.
Perez says he had two sets of keys and thought he was doing the right thing. “I checked on him periodically throughout the night,” he said.
He planned on getting a ticket to buy his new TV, and get right back to the baby. But at 11:40 p.m., the store ran out of tickets.
“I went into like a tunnel vision,” Perez explained over the phone on Wednesday. “I was upset because I had been outside all day long, standing in line.”
Perez then unexpectedly had to wait in line for a different television. When he came out, police had broken into the car, retrieved the baby, and sent him to the hospital.
Perez tried to call the baby’s mother.
“She didn’t answer because she was at work,” he said. “I said I can’t go over and talk to the police because if they arrest me, there’s no way I can get in contact with her on my cell phone while I’m incarcerated.”
So Perez got a ride home from a friend, but officers showed up at his door to question him. The baby’s mother, meantime, was notified and the little boy wasn’t hurt. Perez says he learned a big time babysitting lesson.
“It was a mistake that was made, is was what I’m saying. It wasn’t done intentionally,” he said. “It wasn’t done to harm the child. You know, like I said, the only reason why he was in the car is because I was trying to protect him from being out in the cold. I shouldn’t have him at the store, period.”
Springfield Police say they are still investigating and could bring child endangerment charges against Perez.
The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, meanwhile, is assisting the family.