In the latest case, the father left the parking lot at Augusta Mall even though his 2-year-old son had been taken from the vehicle by a concerned bystander.
Tyrone Tyson Thomas, 27, of Girard, Ga., was booked into the Richmond County jail Tuesday on a charge of deprivation of a minor.
The incident is one of several locally in which children have been left unattended in cars.
Devon Middleton, 25, told police a passer-by in the Augusta Mall parking lot told him about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday that a child was sitting alone in a brown van. Middleton took the child, who was in the unlocked vehicle with the windows up, into his custody for safety, according to an incident report.
Mall security photos showed Middleton pulling the child from the vehicle seven minutes after Thomas left the vehicle. Six minutes later, Thomas returned to the van and left the parking lot.
Another witness, a 53-year-old Grovetown man, flagged down Thomas on Wrightboro Road to tell him the mall officers had his child.
The witness told officers Thomas did not mention contacting police; however, Thomas told police he immediately noticed the toddler was missing and was heading to the sheriff’s office to file a report.
A report states the child was unharmed. The Department of Family and Children Services was notified and allowed the child to be released to his mother.
On Monday, a 28-year-old woman was charged similarly after she left her 6-month-old alone in the car while she shopped at the Broad Street Family Dollar.
In June, 20-year-old Alicia Manigault left her 2-week-old son under a blanket in his car seat in the rear of her SUV at Virginia College while she took an exam. Several officers rescued the child from the vehicle.
Two other mothers have been charged with leaving children in vehicles while at Wal-Mart stores. One was working, and the other was arrested on shoplifting charges.
In July, a Hephzibah man pulled a 19-month-old from a hot car on Woodcrest Drive in Hephzibah. The good Samaritan was awarded by Safe Kids; the father, 45-year-old Russell Givens, was booked into jail.
In 2013, the sheriff’s office reported only two cases of parents leaving children unattended in vehicles.