Ohio County sheriff's deputies arrested Joseph Bertini for child neglect Tuesday evening after he allegedly left his 1- and 2-year-old daughters alone in a car while shopping at The Highlands.
Bertini, 24, of New Eagle, Pa., had not posted $20,000 bond as of late Wednesday and remained in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville.
Deputies responding to a report of two girls who were locked in a car at the Wal-Mart parking lot found Bertini's daughters sleeping in the back seat of a black Chevrolet. The vehicle's doors were locked, the engine was running and the headlights were activated.
"The vehicle was parked a good distance from the store in an area that I would describe as semi-secluded, just outside of the area where the majority of the vehicles park," Sgt. Doug Ernest said.
Deputies said they waited near the vehicle in the 39-degree weather and monitored Bertini's sleeping children until their father returned to the car. Bertini arrived at the vehicle 10 minutes later, and after unlocking the doors, was placed under arrest.
He reportedly told deputies he was "only in the store for a second."
A store manager later provided deputies with video surveillance and photographs of the parking lot, which allegedly revealed that Bertini exited his vehicle at 5:02 p.m. and did not return until 5:39 p.m.
Deputies contacted Child Protective Services before the girls' mother took custody of them at the scene. Bertini's youngest daughter turned 1 year old 10 days prior to the incident.
Ohio County Magistrate Patty Murphy arraigned Bertini Wednesday on two counts of felony child neglect.
A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for 8:45 a.m. Dec. 7 before Ohio County Magistrate Joe Roxby. Bertini's request to have a court-appointed attorney represent him was denied after he reported an annual income of more than $38,000, court documents show.