Gambling Mum Arrested After Leaving Baby in Car to Play at Video Arcade

  • The woman went to gamble in a video arcade in Florida to try and pay off bills
  • A vigilant passerby heard the baby crying inside the car and alerted the police
  • The mother had been playing for nearly two hours before coming back outside
  • She was arrested at the scene and the child was taken into her family's care
woman being handcuffed by police office next to car
A woman in Florida was arrested after she left her baby in the car while gambling in a video arcade for nearly two hours. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Mum gambled to pay off bills

A Florida woman was placed under arrest and faces accusations after leaving her baby alone in a car while she went gambling. 

Michelle Puma was at Treasures of Hope, a video arcade gambling facility in Umatilla, Florida, when a passerby noticed the baby in the vehicle and raised the alarm.

Puma was trying to win enough money playing arcade games to pay off some of her bills. She is now facing prison time after leaving her one-year-old in her vehicle. 

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, Lieutenant John Herrell, gave a public statement about the incident. He said:

She thought that she could go in there and win money while the child slept the whole time. It’s really hard to fathom. It’s unimaginable, really.”

Baby discovered in the car

Another woman who was entering the gambling establishment heard crying coming from the car. After looking for the source of the cries, she spotted the baby inside Michelle Puma’s vehicle.

The woman was able to access the car and console the baby for twenty minutes as she waited for the police to arrive. 

Puma had been gambling for nearly two hours before stepping outside

Puma came out to the vehicle when law enforcement officers were at the scene. Police reported that she told them she “took the gamble on leaving the child in the vehicle with the windows cracked while she tried to go win money.”

According to some Treasures of Hope employees, Puma had been gambling for nearly two hours before stepping outside. 

A close call

Lieutenant Herrell said he had never seen anything like the said incident happen before. He deemed it “crazy” and “mind-boggling” that someone could do such a thing to a child. 

Puma was arrested at the scene and brought to jail in handcuffs. She was released on Tuesday night after posting a bail bond. The baby is currently in the care of Puma’s family.

Law enforcement thanked the woman who discovered the baby in the car and expressed relief that there was cool weather that day. Officers maintained that, while a lot of people would just keep walking, the vigilant woman did the right thing. They also noted that if the incident had occurred during the summer, they could have been dealing with a terrible situation.

Similar incident with a tragic ending

This is not the first time that such an incident has occurred outside of a gambling establishment. 

A grandmother is facing a life sentence for causing the death of her grandson after she left him in her car while she gambled for six hours at the Kickapoo Casino in Harrah, Oklahoma. Temperatures reached 90F on that June day. The woman has pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder charge.