Plains man arraigned on charges he abandoned infant in toy store

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]

WILKES-BARRE — A Plains Township man who city police alleged abandoned a 6-month-old girl at the Toys R Us store on Kidder Street last month was arraigned Thursday morning.

Thomas Himlin Jr., 24, of Union Street, was charged by city police on May 4 after investigating the abandonment of the infant at the toy store on May 2.

Police allege Himlin entered the store and asked an employee to watch the infant. Himlin then left and never returned, police allege.

Himlin was arraigned via video by District Judge Richard Cronauer on a single count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was released on $10,000 unsecured bail.

According to the criminal complaint:

Police were sent to Kidder Street for several reports happening at about 7:30 p.m. on May 2, including men fighting in the street, a hitchhiker, and a man who claimed he was in a crash before leaving a baby with an employee at Toys R Us.

Toy store employees told police a man, identified as Himlin, entered the store saying he was involved in a fight with two other men at Valley Dinner on Kidder Street. Himlin arrived at the store driving a green Ford Escape that had front-end damage and deployed air bags.

Himlin initially entered the store alone and asked an employee to call his cell phone in a few minutes. Himlin left, but returned to the store with an infant in a child car seat.

Himlin placed the infant down and asked an employee to watch the baby while he looked for his phone in his vehicle. Himlin left the store and never returned.

Witnesses told police when Himlin left, he entered a white Ford driven by a woman and occupied by another man. They helped Himlin into the vehicle before driving out of the parking lot.

Police traced the damaged Ford Escape to Himlin’s residence where his parents, Thomas Himlin Sr. and Carla Himlin, reside. Police also found the white Ford parked in the driveway of the house.

Carla Himlin allegedly told police her son was involved in a crash while caring for the baby. She claimed she was aware her son left the infant at the toy store and had intentions of returning.

Police said the infant’s biological mother, Venessa Filip, contacted police on May 3, nearly 21 hours after the infant was abandoned at the toy store.

Filip allegedly told police Himlin offered to baby-sit her daughter as she was busy moving from her residence on Williams Street in Pittston. Filip said she went with a friend to have dinner at Friendly’s on Kidder Street and was not able to contact Himlin to tell him to drop off her daughter at the restaurant.

Filip claimed she attempted several times to contact Himlin but was not able to connect with him. She went to Himlin’s residence in Plains Township and was told by his parents Himlin was involved in a crash and her daughter was in protective custody.

Police said they found Himlin’s damaged cell phone along state Route 315. The cell phone number was the same number given to the toy store employee, police said.

By Ed Lewis

[email protected]