Man arrested after leaving boys alone on the beach

July 1, 2010 3:00:31 PM PDT
Oscar Ferreira still can't understand what the big deal is. "I was only gone about an hour," he said.

Ferreira left two boys, just 6 and 9, on a beach where lifeguards were not on duty.

"I am not a parent I am not aware that that was a law. Now I know better," Ferreira said when asked why he did it.

Ferreira does odd jobs for the parents of one of the boys. In Monday's sweltering heat, he took the kids with the parents' permission to play in the sand.

He admits he left them unsupervised to pick up garbage along the beach. When he came back, they were gone.

"I was worried about them. They call me Uncle Oscar. I love those kids," he said.

Police say the kids had decided to walk home about three miles away. A passerby spotted them, barefoot on the hot asphalt, and called Southampton Township police.

Police returned the boys to their parents and later placed Ferreira under arrest.

On the sand today, beachgoers couldn't believe their ears. After all, those kids easily could have decided to go for a swim.

"You can't just leave small children on the beach out here. There are very bad rip tides. It's been all over the news," one person said.

The mother of one of the boys says Ferreira is a close family friend. She considers this a simple misunderstanding.

Now that he's out on bail, Ferreira says he has learned a lesson.

"I'm not gonna go see them anymore," he said. "It's not worth it anymore."

Ferreira is charged with child endangerment.