A day care aide from Brooklyn told police that she left two toddlers in her care alone "for a few minutes" at a Bay Shore mall "to teach them a lesson" after they played hide-and-seek, a prosecutor said Thursday in a Suffolk courtroom.
But Nicole Noble, 34, left the children alone "for a lot longer than a few minutes" on Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Langlan said in First District Court in Central Islip.
Security staff at the Westfield South Shore mall found the 2-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl playing unattended about 30 minutes after mall surveillance showed them leaving a Macy's without Noble, police said.
Harry Tilis of Bohemia, who represented Noble at her arraignment, entered a not-guilty plea on two counts of child abandonment and two counts of child endangerment.
Noble, of 39-23 Avenue I in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn, was ordered held Thursday on $150,000 bond or $50,000 cash bail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.
"She has lived an upstanding life with no prior criminal involvement," said her attorney, John J. Halton of Bay Shore.
Langlan said Noble admitted to taking the children to the mall, and told police she was going "to teach them a lesson because they were playing hide-and-seek, she left them [the children] alone for a few minutes.
"We now know that she left them alone for a lot longer than a few minutes," he said.
Court papers said Noble took the children to a Macy's department store, "where she deserted" them and returned to her residence in Brooklyn. Noble was arrested there Wednesday night, police said.
Noble had gone to the mall to return an item of clothing, police said. Suffolk police Det. Lt. Darrel Simmons said a mall surveillance video around 1:15 p.m. showed her entering Macy's with the children.
At 1:26 p.m., Simmons said, the children are seen on video leaving Macy's alone.
Mall security called police at 2:08 p.m., and sometime Wednesday a relative of one child saw the children on the police department's social media posting and contacted police with one parent's number, Simmons said.
The children were scheduled to be reunited with their parents Thursday, police said.
Noble did not have permission to take the children, who were dropped off early Wednesday at Elite Christian Day Care, a business her mother owns, police said.
At some point, Noble's mother left the facility, leaving Noble in charge of the two children, and returned to find the three of them missing, Langlan said.