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Youth group leader endangered kids?

A Newark man who brought more than a dozen members of a youth club to Toms River on Saturday to sell products door-to-door now faces three charges of child endangerment, according to the Asbury Park Press.

In the morning, Louis Cruz, 25, of North Twelfth Street in Newark, had dropped off 14 members of the New Jersey Youth Club who were between the ages of 11 and 17. They presumably were under his supervision, the Press said.

Police said they eventually received calls after 6 p.m. about three abandoned children at separate locations, according to the Press.

First came a call about a 14-year-old Newark girl who had been at the Silverton Dunkin’ Donuts shop since 10 a.m.

Soon after that, police responded to a McDonald’s on Fischer Boulevard to find a 12-year-old boy. The boy said he’d told Cruz he did not want to work anymore because no one was buying anything, and Cruz allegedly told him to wait in a store until he came to pick him up. The boy had no cell phone or money. Someone at the restaurant had bought food for him.

Then at 6:30 p.m., police did a welfare check on calls about a 12-year-old boy standing alone on Shenandoah Boulevard without a jacket to protect him from the cold.

Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said the department has received complaints over the past few months about the club’s door-to-door sales.

About Barry Lank

Barry Lank is a former TV and radio writer, and, like most people, was editor of the Courier-Post opinion page in Cherry Hill, at some point. If you look up, you'll realize he's watching you read this.View all posts by Barry Lank