A California man has been arrested and charged with leaving his infant girl alone in a car in the parking lot of a local strip club while he enjoyed lap dances inside.
Auwin Dargin, 24, pleaded not guilty to charges of child abuse he now faces that could land him in prison for up to six years.
Van Nuys police say Dargin left his 9-month-old child locked in his car parked in the lot of the Synn Gentleman’s Club in North Hills for at least an hour while he was inside the club.
The accused father was turned in by the club’s manager who told police he became suspicious when Dargin was seen repeatedly walking in and out of the club. Assistant manager Matthew Nadeau said he went out to the parking lot to see what the patron was doing and saw the baby locked up in the car.
“We hear crying and then we saw a baby in the car,” the manager said.
With the assistance of several others, the manager said he opened the car, freed the baby, and then went on a search for the child’s father who was eventually discovered inside the strip club getting a lap dance by one of the strippers.
The manager said that when the father was confronted inside the club, the suspect said, “Just give me my baby and I know I am messing up.”
But police had been called, and the manager refused to turn the child over to the man until officers arrived.
“I have daughters — over my dead body am I going to let you take this baby today,” the manager says he told the suspect.
When the manager refused to return the baby, Dargin allegedly fled the scene, leaving his child behind. He didn’t get far, though, and was arrested in the parking lot of the establishment.
“I thought it was unbelievable. I could not believe a father would put his child in that type of danger,” LAPD officer Charles Chacon told NBC Los Angeles.
Child protective services took charge of the infant and is now evaluating if the child should be returned to family members.
According to a press release from the Los Angeles County DA’s Office, Dargin has been charged with one count of child abuse.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.