Mesa man accused of leaving kids in car at casinoPosted: Updated:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A Mesa man was arrested early Wednesday morning after allegedly leaving his two children inside his vehicle while he gambled at a Valley casino.
Salt River police officers arrested 29-year-old Gregory Thomas Devereux around 3 a.m. after Talking Stick Casino security reportedly found two toddlers alone inside a vehicle in the parking garage.
According to court documents, investigators believe the boys were left inside the vehicle for about two hours while Gregory Devereux and his girlfriend were inside the casino. The boys were physically OK.
"Doing that in the daytime would have been beyond a little stupid, but this is bad enough," said the man's father, Tom Devereux.
Gregory Devereux was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on one felony count of child abuse and one misdemeanor count of endangering the life of a minor. He is being held on $25,000 bond.
During his initial court appearance Thursday, the Mesa father buried his head in his hands when a judge told him he cannot contact his sons upon release.
"Those kids are everything I have," he told the judge. "I made an irreversible, immature, just dumb decision to leave them in the car for an hour and a half."
He said the children's mother died two years ago.
The two boys reportedly told an Arizona Department of Child Safety worker that it was not the first time their father left them in the car while he gambled.
"In a report to the police that not only did the boys say, yeah, they had done this before, but Gregory had admitted that he had done this times before," Tom Devereux said.
The Department of Child Safety took custody of the children. 3TV was told the boys were placed with their grandparents.
According to court documents, Gregory Devereux has been living with his parents at their Mesa home. Tom Devereux said his son is addicted to gambling.
"We've been in kind of counseling to try to help him and help us and move forward, and now it's a point of, you know, he's going to face the full consequences of this," Tom Devereux said. "And we're going to stand back and feel really, really bad about it."
Court documents also point to drug use, noting that Gregory Devereux receives free methadone on a daily basis.
"They say everybody has to hit bottom really hard to recover," Tom Devereux said. "We're hoping this is it."
Gregory Devereux has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Oct. 31.