FRANKLIN, OH (WCMH) – Five children were removed from a Cincinnati area home after a boy was found trying to sell his teddy bear to get money for food.
Officer Steve Dunham received a report on Sunday that a seven-year-old boy was peddling the toy outside of a drug store, trying to get enough money to eat.
“He told me he was trying to sell his stuffed animal to get money for food because he hadn’t eaten in several days,” Dunham told WLWT.
Dunham took the boy to an area Subway to get something to eat, then took him to the police department.
“They treated them like their own kids and that’s exactly what law enforcement does in situations like this, is how we would want someone to treat our kids,” said Franklin police chief Russ Whitman.
The parents of the child, Tammy and Michael Bethel, are charged with 10 counts of child endangering.
Police say the seven-year-old boy and his four brothers, ages 11, 12, 15 and 17, lived in squalor. The house was littered with cockroaches, urine, garbage and liquor bottles, WLWT reported.
“Hopefully these officers’ actions change these kids’ lives,” said Chief Whitman. “And maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents.”
Dunham says he was just doing his job, but he made a new friend in the process. “I came back to check on him and he was hiding and he jumped out to scare me when I came back in the building, he got me real good!”