Woman with multiple arrest warrants charged with leaving child in car

A diner at Cheesecake Factory in the Westfield mall alerted police to a toddler that had been left in a car parked outside the restaurant April 5 about 9:30 p.m.

Police said the car had been left unlocked and running, and that the caller had watched the car for about 20 minutes before bringing the crying child into the restaurant. Workers said the child appeared to be very hungry and quickly devoured some food.

Police watched the car for an additional 30 minutes before a woman, later identified as Melissa Rose Zowine, 26, of Bridgeport, returned. Zowine said she worked at the restaurant and had come to get some paperwork so she and the child could spend the night at a homeless shelter. But store management reviewed security camera footage and police said it showed Zowine taking money from a coworker’s purse that had been left in the employee locker room.

Zowing was charged with risk of injury to a child, leaving a child unsupervised in a vehicle, sixth-degree larceny, and interfering with police. Bond was $2,500 for court April 13. The child and another older child are in the care of the Department of Children and Families.

Zowine has previous convictions from 2010, 2015 and 2017 on various charges, and is also currently facing charges of failure to appear in court from the Stratford and state police.