Tarentum woman accused of leaving child in car at casino garage

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A Tarentum woman is set to be arraigned this morning on charges she left her 9-year-old son alone in a vehicle while she went into Rivers Casino Tuesday night.

According to a criminal complaint, Valerie E. Snyder, 30, told Pittsburgh police that she won a free 10-dollar casino voucher at the Pirates game that night and stopped to redeem it because she had 24 hours to do so and didn't want to drive back to Pittsburgh.

A casino customer reported a "young child" in a blue Honda Odyssey parked on the sixth floor of the casino garage, the complaint says. The boy told a casino EMT who responded that his mother was inside redeeming a prize. Security paged Ms. Snyder, who returned to her vehicle, and officers responded at 10:07 p.m.

She told police she did not play any games while inside, the complaint says. It was not immediately clear how long she was away from the vehicle.

Ms. Snyder is charged with leaving a child unattended in a vehicle and child endangerment. An attorney was not listed in court records.

Police said the boy's father picked him up from the casino.

A casino representative released a statement this afternoon saying, "We can't stop parents from making bad decisions; but we are vigilant in our efforts to prevent this from happening.

“In addition to multiple, large underage restriction signs, our parking lot is monitored 24/7 by surveillance cameras and patrols. This individual will receive a lifetime ban from our casino. We take this issue very seriously."


First Published August 6, 2014 12:00 AM

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