CRIME
09/15/2011 10:31 am ET Updated Nov 15, 2011

Charlene Sutherland Left Kids At Barnes & Noble To Run Errands, Faces Prison Time

Charlene Sutherland might want to pick up a parenting book the next time she stops by Barnes & Noble.

The Alabama mother faces up to six years in prison for allegedly dropping off her son and daughter, 11 and 6 years old, at the bookstore while she went out to run errands, according to the Dothan Eagle.

Sutherland is accused of leaving her children at the bookstore for more than seven hours on three separate occasions. Police arrested the 41-year-old mom on Saturday and charged her with six misdemeanor counts of endangering a child's welfare.

Dothan Police Sgt. Rachel David said that store employees, not surprisingly, found the situation alarming.

“It was a concern to them that the children were being left unattended,” David said. “While the children were well behaved, Barnes and Noble is not set up as a child care facility.”

Sutherland, however, claims that she left her kids at the store for only about an hour.

"My children were home for the summer, not going to school, and one of the things they love to do, they love to read," Sutherland told ABC News. "They tell me all about the how the store has a children's section and they can read the books and leave them there so I don't have to buy them, which, frankly, I couldn't afford to do."

The case will be heard on October 12.