A photo posted on Facebook showing a baby locked inside of a car in New Zealand with a note, saying its mother was shopping, has gone viral, sparking outrage.
The photo of an infant wrapped in a blanket with a note attached was taken outside of Porirua Pak 'n Save on Saturday morning, the New Zealand Herald reports. The child wearing a bonnet appears to be sleeping in a car seat.
“My mum's in doing the shopping, call her if I need anything,” said the note. It included a cellphone number.
A male onlooker told the New Zealand Herald the baby was left alone outside of the Pak n’ Save for quite some time, worrying his wife.
"It was written from the baby's perspective … and it had the cellphone number,” the man said. "We waited there for a little bit, wondering if the mum was just going to be two seconds and come back. And my wife said, 'I'm not going in without someone being here with the baby.’"
A photo was posted on radio personality Polly Gillespie's Facebook page on Sunday. It immediately drew outrage toward the mother who left her baby in the car with a note.
Gillespie said she obtained the photo from a Facebook user known as “Ben.”
"Julie and another lady waited by the car while someone got the mother back," the man allegedly wrote. "Majorly stupid error in judgement by a tired new mum. The different views of different cultures was interesting to watch, too."
As of Monday morning, the photo has more than 430 “likes” and 156 “shares” on Facebook.
Marty Fryer, Porirua Pak 'n Save's compliance manager, told the Sydney Morning Herald the store was unaware of the incident.
"It's not really an issue we deal with normally, although we get all sorts of things going on out here,” Fryer said. “We have staff in the carpark so if they saw something like a baby in a car they would bring it to our attention.”
It's illegal for a child under the age of 14 to be left alone “for an unreasonable time or in unreasonable conditions,” the newspaper said. The offense can result in a fine of up to $2,000.
A New Zealand Herald report said police won't investigate the incident further since no one has come forward or made a complaint.
"We don't know who the people are, we don't know the phone number, we don't know where to start,” national police spokeswoman, Annie Coughlan, said. "We would launch an investigation if we could but at this stage no one's come forward.”
Senior Sergeant Justin Raken said often times, even if a formal complaint was made, a criminal charge is unlikely.
"[Incidences like this] need to be taken on their merits and often it's a mum that's run into a shop, for example, and is only away for five minutes," Raken told the NZ Herald. "Absolutely [it should be reported to police], but it doesn't mean to say we'd prosecute. I would suggest the majority of people in that situation aren't prosecuted."