Kids Left in Car Outside Parx Casino, Again: Police

6th incident to happen this summer, officials say

For the sixth time this summer, a parent is accused of leaving their children inside a car while they gambled in a Bucks County casino.

Paul Vargas, 34 of Bensalem, Pa., left his two children and puppy inside his father-in-law's SUV outside the Parx Casino around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, police say.

The 7- and 12-year-old kids and their young pit bull spent between 10 and 30 minutes inside the running car while Vargas allegedly played blackjack, police say.

Casino patrons called security after seeing the kids in the car, officials say. Security, in turn, called Bensalem Police.

By the time the father returned to the car, Bensalem Police had already been called by casino security.

Vargas, who was driving on a suspended license from a prior DUI conviction, allegedly told authorities he had a couple of beers before taking his kids to a convenience store to get food. They then went to Parx.

Mario Barrera, Vargas' father-in-law, calls his son-in-law's actions stupid.

"It was something stupid. He wish he could bring back what he do," Barrera said. "The kids are crying a lot, my wife too. So, we're upset that happened."

Vargas is charged with two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. He's being held on $250,000 bail.

The children and dog were released to the care of their grandparents.

Wednesday's incident is the sixth to happen this summer season. On August 1, a Philadelphia mother was arrested for allegedly making her daughters wait six hours while she gambled inside the casino.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has criticized Bensalem Police and Parx Casino for not employing enough safeguards to help prevent such cases. But officials from both sides say its not their job to teach parenting.

"Sure and when a child doesn't pass the 5th grade, the gaming control board is going to blame me for that," Bensalem Township Public Safety Director Fred Harran said. "It's absolutely ridiculous to blame the Bensalem Police department or Parx casino for that matter."

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