Court docs: Dad shoplifted women's underwear while 3-year-old girl locked in home alone

CLAYCOMO, Mo. - A Claycomo, Mo., father is accused of shoplifting women's undergarments while his 3-year-old daughter was locked in a home alone with needles and pornography.

James C. Simpson, 33, was charged Friday with one count each of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and misdemeanor stealing.

Read the charges: http://bit.ly/TeH0wZ

According to Claycomo Police, bail bondsman Kevin Vetsch went to the residence on N. Riley Street around 1 p.m. Thursday trying to locate Simpson, who was wanted on a previous warrant. When he arrived, he said he found the house padlocked from the outside.

"I show up at the door and there's a small child, a small girl at the window," Vetsch said. After walking around the residence, he said he realized the padlocked door was the only entrance to the home.

Vetsch then called the police, who were able to get the complex's manager to cut the lock. When he got inside, he said he found the girl home alone, with discarded needles and tapes labeled "porn" easily in sight.

Claycomo Police said they believe she had been left unattended since 9 a.m.

When Simpson arrived home around 2 p.m., he told law enforcement officials he had been out mushroom hunting. He was taken into custody on an unrelated warrant Thursday night, and was charged with the new counts Friday afternoon.

Vetsch said that police found four knives on the father when they searched him. According to the probable cause statement, officers also discovered Simpson was wearing women's clothing under his jeans.

Read the probable cause statement: http://bit.ly/Unql5n

Prosecutors allege Simpson stole the women's undergarments from a Maj-R-Thrift store on Thursday, when his 3-year-old daughter was left home alone.

"He didn't think it was a big deal, he said 'I was out collecting mushrooms, I was coming back,'" Vetsh said, "even though he had his child padlocked inside the house...with needles around and pornographic materials written on the tapes."

Police said the Missouri Department of Family Services was caring for the girl Thursday afternoon, but after learning the girl's mother had no knowledge the child had been left alone, DFS agents released her to her care.

The mother and Simpson are married and are believed to live together at the home. According to a neighbor, the mother and girl spent Thursday night in Platte City, Mo.

A 41 Action News investigation found that Simpson has a criminal past of child neglect and domestic abuse.

Read the investigation: http://bit.ly/UnqVjM

Vetsch said Thursday he's glad to know the little girl will be in a safer environment than when he found her.

"I'm not off the bond (because I didn't bring Simpson in myself), but I did get a 3-year-old out of a house she was padlocked in, and she's going to sleep in a clean house tonight," he said.

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