UMATILLA, Fla. - A woman has been arrested, accused of leaving a baby inside a car while she went gambling at a video arcade, deputies say.
It was a losing wager, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office, and if it weren't for another person who stepped in, it's unclear how long that baby would have been out there alone.
At a gaming business called Treasures of Hope, deputies say one woman hoped to earn enough treasure to pay her bills. Instead, Michelle Puma was thrown behind bars, accused of leaving a one-year-old in her car while she gambled inside.
"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," said Lt. John Herrell, spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies say another woman was heading inside the online gaming lounge on State Road 19 in Umatilla when she heard a child crying. She eventually found a baby in a car. According to an arrest report, she stayed with the baby for about 20 minutes, took it out "to console her" and called teh cops.
Puma eventually came out and told cops she "took the gamble on leaving the child in the vehicle with the windows cracked while she tried to go win money." Workers at Treasures of Hope tell FOX 35 News that Puma was inside gambling for almost two hours.
"It’s crazy. It’s mind-boggling. Literally right when we think we’ve heard it all or seen it all, we see something like this so it’s just hard to imagine really," said Lt. Herrell.
Puma was taken away in handcuffs. The baby is now with family. Deputies say they're thankful for the woman who stepped in and for the cooler weather.
"A lot of people would be tempted just to walk on by and not get involved but kudos to her. She did the right thing. Had this happened back in the summer months, this could be all bad. This could be a terrible situation that we’re talking about right now."
Puma bonded out of jail Tuesday night. FOX 35 News tried her at home but she wasn't there. Deputies say they're also paying close attention to the business because online gaming businesses are illegal in Florida.