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Long Island parents accused of leaving children alone in cars

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In two separate incidents, three Long Island parents found themselves behind bars Sunday after cops allege they left their children unattended – in cars without heat—while they went shopping, Suffolk County police said March 2.

In one incident, a Patchogue couple is accused of leaving their three young children in a car that was unlocked and running while they went shopping in Patchogue. Police said a 6-month-old boy, 5-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy were crying in the unattended car when officers found them in the Gateway Plaza parking lot on Sunrise Highway around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Investigators believe the children were left for about an hour in the 2012 Hyundai Accent before their parents emerged from a Marshalls department store. The parents, Donald Hayes, 33, and Sarah Hayes, 34, of Patchogue, were each charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

In another incident, a Bayville woman was arrested for allegedly leaving her 4-year-old son alone in a car while she went food shopping, police said.

Police said a witness called authorities after spotting the young child unattended in the parking lot of Wild by Nature on West Main Street in Huntington shortly after 3 p.m. on Sunday. When police arrived, an officer found the boy alone in the backseat of a Toyota Yaris that was locked and not running.

“Witnesses stated that the child, who was in the car with a dog, had been in the vehicle approximately 20 minutes prior to police arrival,” a news release said.

The boy’s mother, Marcela Monaco, 39, of Bayville, was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

All three parents were arraigned Monday at First District Court in Central Islip. Details from the court appearance were not immediately available.

Police said they notified Suffolk County Child Protective Services officials in both cases.