INDIANAPOLIS - Police and child welfare workers took emergency custody of six children Thursday after finding them in a car with a sleeping sex offender on the eastside of Indianapolis.
Officers received a call around 9 a.m. that a black SUV had been idling for hours in the Admiral gas station parking lot in the 1400 block of East Washington Street. Clerks told police it had been idling near a payphone in the parking lot since 3 o’clock that morning.
When officers approached the car, they found a 30-year-old man asleep behind the wheel with six children in the back of the car.
After checking his identification, police discovered the man was a registered sex offender, and that the children weren't related to him.
Police said they discovered four girls in the car -- a 4-year-old, a 7-year-old, a 9-year-old and a 12-year old -- and two boys, ages 5 and 10.
When officers questioned the man, he told them he was not the father of any of the children but that the children had been with him since their mother’s arrest earlier in the week.
A separate police report shows the 35-year-old mother had been arrested on Wednesday in the 4400 block of East 10th Street, where she was charged with two counts of assaulting a customer at a store. Police said she had started yelling and threatening to kill a store clerk, and then began physically attacking a customer who tried to intervene.
The mother was booked into the Marion County Jail on two misdemeanor charges of battery.
At the time, police reported she appeared to be having a "psychotic episode." Officers said she was rambling about religion and claiming she could read the minds of the people involved in scuffle at the store.
She did not have her children with her when she was arrested, according to the police report.
The woman was listed as a missing person from Suffolk County, N.Y., so police notified officials in that jurisdiction.
The registered sex offender told police on Thursday that he was the mother’s friend and had been caring for her children since her arrest.
Officers removed the children from the SUV and questioned the oldest child about the situation. She told police they had been driving around with the man for days, but that nothing improper had occurred with any of the children.
Child Protective Services took emergency custody of all six children.
The man was not arrested, but police did impound his car.