Erica Perez’s home on Long Avenue was burglarized Monday. Perez is in jail facing seven counts of child endangering, as well as other charges, for allegedly housing her seven children in a home filled with garbage and filth. Police said Perez, who is 4 months pregnant, was intoxicated Thursday when she was arrested.
Police were dispatched to Perez’s home at 12:13 a.m. Monday when a neighbor, who knew Perez’s home was empty, reported seeing lights on at the home. The neighbor said two men stole a window air conditioner from the home and then walked out of the house and east on West 17th Street.
According to a police report, police found Emmanuel Rodriguez, 27, and Joe Hernandez, 22, both of Lorain, carrying an air conditioner and plastic laundry container holding a PlayStation 2 and a DVD player. Rodriguez told police the two had found the air conditioner, and the DVD player and PlayStation 2 belonged to Hernandez.
Police said a window of Perez’s home appeared to hold an air conditioner, but the air conditioner was not in the window. The front and back door were unlocked, according to police.
The neighbor identified the two men as the men she had seen in the home. She said one of the men frequents the neighborhood and goes by the name of “Manny.”
Rodriguez and Hernandez were arrested and charged with burglary and transported to Lorain City Jail.
Police said that, along with the air conditioner, DVD player and PlayStation 2, the two men had taken several DVDs.
According to Lorain County Children Services spokeswoman Patti-Jo Burtnett, Perez’s children are currently in the care of relatives. She said Children Services is exploring permanently housing the children with relatives, but she would not comment on whether any relatives expressed interest in taking them in permanently.
Burtnett said if family members are unwilling or unsuitable to care for the children, the agency will ask the court for custody of the children and house them with a foster family.
According to Burtnett, Thursday’s encounter with Perez was not the first for Children Services.
On June 20, a caseworker visited the home, but the children remained in the care of Perez.
Burtnett said it was reported that the condition “did not appear to deteriorate to that level as when the police visited.”
According to a police report, Perez’s home contained empty liquor bottles and beer cans and “smelled of urine and garbage.”
Burtnett said Children Services is reviewing the management of the case, but she would not name the caseworker who visited Perez’s home nor release a Children Services report of the initial visit to Perez’s home.
Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.