An Arizona mom has been arrested on charges of child neglect, after allegedly leaving her 9-year-old son at McDonald's so she could go to a casino and gamble, Yahoo News reports. The boy purportedly told police that his mother frequently leaves him alone, "but she always comes back."
Stacy Rupp, 34, allegedly left Phoenix with her 9-year-old son, stopped off at a McDonald's in Peoria, then allegedly left him there so she could go to the Desert Diamond Casino, just a mile away. A concerned employee notice the "dirty and disheveled" boy and called the police. Employees gave the boy coloring books and ice cream to keep him occupied.
When police arrived, they found that the boy was not in particularly acute distress. In fact, he seemed positively calm, purportedly telling police that his mom leaves him alone all the time but "she always comes back." Police noted that Rupp did not leave the boy with a cell phone or any other way of contacting her, or any other adult, in case of an emergency.
By the time his mom showed up, just moments after police got there, the boy had been alone for about two hours, police say. According to a police report, Rupp at first tried to tell police that she had been shopping at a grocery store in the same shopping center as the McDonald's. According to The Arizona Republic, police asked for proof, and Rupp produced a carton of eggs; they were warm.
Then, she allegedly try to say that the boy steals her money and "drives [her] crazy." However, when police called Child Protective Services to have him, and her other children, taken into custody, she allegedly began crying, telling police that she "messed up" and that going into foster care would be harmful to him.Meanwhile, surveillance video from the casino shows a woman, allegedly Rupp, entering and leaving the building at different times when the boy was allegedly left at McDonald's.
Rupp was arrested and charged with child abuse and endangerment. Further, a judge issued a "no contact" order, forbidding her from making contact with her son. A court date has been set for July.
A neighbor, speaking on condition of anonymity, says she's not surprised that Rupp has been charged with child abuse. The neighbor says that she often sees the boy "running around in his underwear."
"It doesn't surprise me at all," said the neighbor.