CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Authorities arrested a woman after they said she left her 3-year-old granddaughter in a hot car while she shopped at a Big Lots in West Ashley.
Officers with the Charleston Police Department responded to the Big Lots parking lot off Sam Rittenberg Boulevard on Monday afternoon after receiving a report of a child left inside a vehicle.
When police arrived, the child was totally naked in the back seat of a Blue Honda Civic. The right rear window was halfway open, but other windows were closed. The child was sweaty and hot to the touch, according to a police report.
Witnesses told police that they saw the naked child poking her head out of the window, and then provided her with cold water and called the police. When asked what happened, the girl allegedly told them she opened the door and cut her clothes off with scissors because she was hot.
According to the report, an employee at Big Lots made an announcement inside the store, and a woman, who identified herself as the child’s grandmother, exited the business.
Both an employee and witness told police that the woman had been inside the store for about an hour and did not have the child with her.
The grandmother, later identified as 55-year-old Pamela Lawson, told police she was inside shopping for about 25 minutes and had left the air conditioning on. But police said she had the keys around her neck and the vehicle was off when she exited the building.
During the investigation, law enforcement learned the woman was inside the store shoplifting and left the business while concealing merchandise in her purse. The store did not want to pursue shoplifting charges, but police placed her on trespass notice.
The child was taken to Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital to be checked out and police notified the child’s father.
Lawson was arrested and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.