A Tennessee father pleaded guilty Friday to leaving his toddler in a freezing cold car while he allegedly went to shoplift from Walmart.
Stetson Swift, 20, was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days probation and ordered to have no contact with his son or the boy's mother, WBBJ reported.
Police in Dyersburg responded to a shoplifting report at Walmart on December 27, after officials say Swift was caught shoplifting on a security camera. When they arrived to arrest him, they found his son -- whose age has been reported varyingly as 8 months, 1 year, and 2 years -- alone in a freezing cold truck.
"The child was out of his car seat and free to roam throughout the car … and a passenger window was rolled down far enough to allow the child to fall out of the vehicle," according to a police report obtained by WREG.
Swift was initially charged with felony child abuse and neglect, but a judge reduced the charge to a misdemeanor on Friday. Walmart did not file shoplifting charges because the value of the goods was less than $25, according to WMC-TV.
Walmart shopper Blan Stout expressed some empathy for Swift, telling WMC that "Maybe his baby was hungry. I don't know what I'd do if my baby was hungry. So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt."
However, Stout also added, "If [the stolen merchandise] was something that was not edible I think he deserves just punishment … Get what's coming to him."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly said Stetson Swift's name was "Stetson Smith."
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