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Police: 3 kids left home alone near loaded gun, drugs; mom sought

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:37:50 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 04:49:39 AM CST

Police are searching for a woman who stands accused of leaving three of her children alone in an apartment near a loaded gun and drugs.

READING, Pa. -

Police are searching for a woman who stands accused of leaving three of her children alone in an apartment near a loaded gun and drugs.

Police raided the apartment on North 10th Street in Reading on Tuesday after receiving several complaints from neighbors about constant drug activity.

The situation, police said, could have turned deadly. 

"Wow! That's crazy," said Shalena Robinson, who lives just around the corner from the disturbing discovery.

The news is hard to hear. Three children were within an arm's reach of danger inside their own home.

"Anybody that puts anybody in that situation with a baby like that, it's totally wrong," said Ted Chase, who lives on North 10th Street.

Thirty-four-year-old Jessica Torres, who neighbors said goes by the nickname, "Boogie," is accused of leaving her three sleeping children alone in a bedroom next to crack cocaine, and a loaded handgun under the mattress.

"To have guns in the house with children there, you don't know what would happen," said Bernadette Wisniewski, who lives on the same block.

"Two of the three children could have at any point reached over and easily grabbed a bag of cocaine," said Sgt. Wayne Levey, Reading Police Dept.

Inside the apartment, police said they found 75 grams of crack cocaine, a .45 caliber handgun with an obliterated serial number, a bulletproof vest and drug packaging materials.

"It's very disturbing to find children in close proximity to dangerous drugs, and the loaded firearm speaks for itself," said Levey.

"It is hard to believe because she's a nice person," said Benny Turner, who loves next to the apartment that was raided.

"I'm a mother, no you don't have none of that around your kids," said Robinson.

The children have been removed from the apartment. Berks County Children and Youth Services is assisting with the safety of the children.

A family friend was also in the apartment upstairs with three other children but will not be charged, said police.

Torres, on the other hand, remains at large and faces a number of charges. Anyone with information about her whereabouts can call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.