Drug arrest lands baby at Home Depot

July 18, 2008 3:28:12 PM PDT
A young child was turned in to Home Depot managers in New Jersey Thursday after police say his father was busted for trying to buy drugs.Authorities say two people walked into the Totowa store around 5 p.m. Thursday with a little boy strapped into a car seat.

"They go up to the desk and say they found a baby in the parking lot," Detective Dennis Blakeley told the Bergen County Record. "Then they just leave without waiting for police."

The baby was taken to a local hospital, where he was reportedly put under the care of the state Division of Youth and Family Services.

Blakeley told The Record that the baby has curly hair, appears to be Hispanic and is believed to be 7 months old. He was wearing a Thomas the Train shirt, according to Blakeley.

Police believe the boy's father took him along to buy drugs in Paterson and then got arrested. Authorities say 27-year-old Mickel Gonzales had his child in a van when he and 20-year-old Nicholas Palmieri went to a bodega to buy narcotics.

Gonzales was reportedly arrested by Paterson police, while Palmieri fled the scene with the child in the van and went to his parents' home in Wayne. Authorities say Palmieri told his mother that he found the boy at the Home Depot lot. They say she and another son took the toddler to the hardware store, expecting to find parents searching for the child. After finding no one, they left the boy with store managers.

Police say the child's mother, 27-year-old Jennifer Castillo, was working at the Willowbrook Mall at the time and had no knowledge of what happened to her son.

Paterson police have reportedly charged Gonzales with possession of drugs after they say he had heroin on him at the time of arrest. He is also being charged with child endangerment. Totowa police will only charge him with child endangerment.