Police: Woman left infant in car while shopping, eating in store

TRUMBULL — A 38-year-old Beacon Falls woman is accused of leaving her 13-month old niece in the car unattended for nearly an hour while she shopped and ate inside a store at Hawley Lane Mall, police said.

Shortly after noon on Nov. 22, employees from the Five Below store in the Hawley Lane Mall called police to report that Angela Ruggiero appeared to be intoxicated and was eating food while shopping in the store. She also allegedly opened and discarded a variety of merchandise, according to police.

Employees asked her to leave and she refused, police said.

When police arrived, they reported Ruggiero was uncooperative, briefly struggling with officers. Police also said she had trouble locating her identification.

Ruggiero initially said she was at the mall alone, then referred to her niece who was waiting to return home. Officers found the girl inside a locked 2017 Nissan Sentra in the parking lot. Further investigation determined she had been in the car for an extended time, police said. Police said Ruggiero was also in possession of numerous bottles of alcohol, which raised concerns about her ability to drive.

Ruggiero was charged with interfering with an officer and risk of injury to a minor. Bail was set at $5,000 and she is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 29.