According to police, a 46-year-old woman discovered the children in the locked car when she heard them crying. She told store security, and the owner was paged over ShopRite’s intercom. After 20 minutes without a response, police showed up and found Thompson shopping inside the Aramingo Avenue grocery store.
Thompson was operating a daycare facility out of her home on the 6300 block of Sylvester Street in Northeast Philadelphia. According to the Department of Licenses and Inspections database, a daycare business license was issued to Karin Thompson and Little People's Learning Place at that address in 2008. That license expired in 2010, according to city records.
She is registered as a daycare provider with the state's Department of Public Welfare. "But it's a self-licensing process," a representative of the DPW told me, explaining that an in-home daycare provider is not subject to the same scrutiny as a larger commercial facility.
According to the DPW, Thompson's home was inspected randomly in 2010, and she received no violations. Inspectors went to the home on Tuesday, but there was no one there to give them access. They plan to return today. Thompson's licensure with the state is set to expire in December.
There were five children in the SUV, aged six months through 9-years-old. Thompson has been charged with five counts each of endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment.
Police noted that the air conditioning in the SUV was on and that all of the children were evaluated at St. Christopher's hospital and released to their parents.