HALLANDALE BEACH (CBS4) – Hallandale Beach Police arrested two women, Sunday, for leaving several children unattended while police said the women were gambling inside a casino.
Romaine Pierre, 31, and Malory Pierre, 27, allegedly left four children locked inside a car while it was still running as they went into the Mardi Gras Casino.
The women have been charged with four counts of child neglect each.
Hallandale Beach Police released surveillance video from inside the casino that shows the women walking in around 8:50 pm, buying a Player’s Club card and settling in at a slot machine. Police say the video shows the women leaving around 9:10 and finding the police at their vehicle.
One of the women begins to cry as police placed on handcuffs on the other woman. Both were led away to a waiting police car.
Investigators say the surveillance video contradicts what the women told officers on scene.
“Initially what the ladies told us was they went into the establishment to use the restroom but that was not true,” said Hallandale Beach Police Major Thomas Honan.
An anonymous passerby said she saw the children inside the car and noticed they did not have anyone with them for about 20 minutes.
That woman called 911.
An officer responded and found four children, two boys and two girls, ages eight, five, four and two-years-old locked inside the car.
According to the arrest affidavit, the oldest child told the officer her step-mother and her sister had gone inside the casino and “left us here.”
The children were not harmed.
A cousin of the women, Joshua Blot, told CBS 4 News that the news came as a shock to family members.
“It surprises me that they’re mothers and they would put their children in danger like that,” Blot said. “It’s late night, dark. Anything could have happened.”
Both women are out of jail on bond. The Department of Children and Families will have a shelter hearing on the children on Wednesday.
DCF says they have no prior history with the family.