A New Haven woman was arrested Thursday after she allegedly left her young children at Panera Bread in the Hamden Plaza while she went shopping in a nearby grocery store.
At about 8:30 p.m. Thursday a member of the Hamden Fire Department saw a crying five-year-old child wandering in front of Panera, according to police spokesman Capt. Ronald Smith.
The fire department member called police, and Officer Mark Gery, who was on patrol in the area, responded.
The two took the child into Panera Bread, where they found the child's two sibliings, ages 3 and 2, sleeping, Smith said. A witness told police that she stayed with the children inside the restaurant for at least 15 minutes, he said.
Gery found that the children's mother, Barbara Scharlau, 37, of 32 Sheffield Street, New Haven, had left the children there unattended while she went grocery shopping.
Scharlau was charged with three counts of Risk of Injury to a Minor. She was released on a Written Promise to Appear in Meriden Superior Court on June 6.