Police arrested a woman on charges of child endangering, menacing and disorderly conduct after they were called to a West Side group home about 1:10 a.m. Sunday for a report of a woman who left two children alone inside an apartment to buy cigarettes.
Police were called to the apartment by the caretaker were told that the mother, Paula Koonse, 38, had asked a neighbor to watch the children for her so she could buy cigarettes, and the caretaker refused. The children are age 5 and 2, reports said.
The caretaker said Koonse went outside to smoke and asked a neighbor for cigarettes. When the neighbor said they had none, Koonse argued with the neighbor before leaving to walk to a store to get cigarettes, reports said.
The caretaker said she learned at midnight that Koonse was not in her apartment, so she went to check on the children and found them there. She tried for an hour to find Koonse, and when she could not, she called police, reports said.
Koonse arrived as police were talking to the caretaker. Koonse told police she walked to a store on Schenley Avenue for cigarettes and when she found it was closed, she walked farther down Mahoning Avenue to a store at the corner of Belle Vista and Mahoning avenues for cigarettes. She then called a cab because she wanted to get back quickly to be with her children.
She told police she was gone for about 45 minutes, reports said.
As police went to get the grandparents of the children, Koonse began arguing with another neighbor, reports said, and threatened her several times before she was arrested.
Koonse was taken to Mahoning County jail, and records showed late Monday afternoon she was still there. Court records show she has a hearing in Youngstown Municipal Court on Aug. 22.