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Largo woman charged with neglect after toddler found in car at bar

A Largo woman was arrested early Sunday morning after allegedly leaving a toddler in a locked car and going drinking.

Shortly after 1 a.m., deputies were called to Club 54 Bar in St. Petersburg, which is at the intersection of 54th Avenue N and Haines Road, after patrons spied a young child asleep in the backseat of a white Toyota.

When deputies questioned the vehicle's driver, 29-year-old Caroline Kreitz, she told them she'd been inside for only about 15 to 20 minutes and was there to meet a friend who owed her money.

Bar patrons told a different story, however. They said Kreitz had been at Club 54 for at least an hour and had purchased drinks.

Deputies said they found the toddler, a 2-year-old boy, in the vehicle with the windows rolled up and the doors locked. County child protection investigators took custody of him.

To protect the identity of the child, the Sheriff's Office said it would not provide details about the relationship between Kreitz and the toddler, saying only that he was in her care.

Kreitz was charged with felony child neglect. She was released on her own recognizance Sunday afternoon.

Other than a 2001 arrest for a worthless check, Kreitz does not have a criminal record in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Will Van Sant can be reached at vansant@sptimes.com or 445-4166.

Largo woman charged with neglect after toddler found in car at bar 10/19/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 20, 2008 6:33pm]
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