Man leaves hungry toddler locked in car

Food money used to enter strip club, pay dancer tips

By Alan Gathright, Rocky Mountain News, May 16, 2008

Alan Baxter has blown his shot at Babysitter of the Year.

The Denver man was busted for leaving his girlfriend's hungry toddler locked in a parked car while he hit a Glendale strip club.

The topper: The girlfriend, who was at work, gave Baxter $20 to buy dinner for her 3-year-old daughter. The 20-year-old man instead used it for the cover charge and stripper tips at Shotgun Willie's.

The manager of Fascinations porn shop next-door came to the rescue - flagging down a police officer May 10 to report the toddler alone in the locked car with the driver's side window opened 3 inches.

"The child appeared very afraid, and seemed to 'cower' in the rear seat," a Glendale officer wrote in the police report. "There was no food or water left in the vehicle."

The officer noted that it was about 50 degrees. Leaving a child in an over-heated car can be fatal - at least 36 children died in hot cars nationwide last year.

The Fascinations manager and patrons told police the car had been parked there about 25 minutes. The manager described a man who'd left the car and appeared to enter the strip club.

In Shotgun Willie's, officers found the man fitting the description - Baxter - sitting at a table with a cold beer, tipping a dancer.

Baxter was initially evasive, denying driving to the club or knowing anything about the child, the report stated.

But when police asked him if he knew the car's registered owner, Baxter admitted she was his girlfriend.

When police called her and said that Baxter had left her daughter in a parked car while he hit the strip joint, the mother appeared "very upset and concerned about her child's well-being."

The little girl told police she was "very hungry" and an officer got her a McDonald's meal before reuniting the toddler with her mom.

Baxter admitted that he'd used the child's meal money to enter the club and his wad of 16 $1 bills were for dancer tips.

He said he'd only had a "sip" of beer, and a police Breathalyzer test showed no measurable alcohol in his system. He was charged with neglecting a child and released.

Ultimately, "Baxter stated leaving the child alone was 'very stupid,' " according to the police report.

Police alerted the Shotgun Willie's manager that a club worker had allowed Baxter to enter, failing to notice that his driver's license showed he was three weeks shy of his 21st birthday.

The worker was fired immediately, because patrons must be 21 to enter the club and be served alcohol.


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