Police in Florida launched an investigation after a neighbor pulled the plug on an inflatable bounce house during a little girl’s birthday party.
According to TODAY, surveillance footage from the family’s home shows several children playfully jumping in the bounce house before it suddenly collapses, trapping the toddlers inside.
Deborah Romero later revealed that she had rented the bounce house and hired a DJ for her daughter Diana’s birthday party.
“We were very nervous about the kids because it was extremely hot, and they were trapped inside the bounce house,” she told WPEC. “We couldn't really reach for all the kids, and we unfortunately had to pull one of the kids by his leg.”
Romero explained that all the children trapped inside the inflatable house were no older than 3 years old, so they were completely terrified when the house started deflating out of nowhere.
"Chaos. Absolute chaos," the birthday girl's godfather, Glenn Hunt, told TODAY. "Some of the kids were crying. One of them actually was kind of traumatized by the incident. Another one when he was being removed, his leg got a little injured."
When authorities looked at surveillance footage from the party later, they were horrified to see a man in a red shirt casually walk into the backyard and unplug the bounce house.
Video Credit: Glenn Hunt via YouTube.com
Police say that after destroying the party, the man calmly left and walked back across the street as if nothing had happened.
Authorities say they think the man was trying to pull the plug on the DJ booth, but grabbed the wrong cord instead.
"We believe that he thinks that he was pulling the plug to the DJ booth, but it didn't, it pulled the plug to the bounce house,'' Master Sgt. Frank Sabol of the Port St. Lucie Police Department said.
According to TODAY, police have since identified the man in question and charged him with trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The man, who has since been identified as 70-year-old Charles Wotruba, was said to be extremely uncooperative when police tried to interview him initially.
Authorities agreed that Wotruba’s actions that day put all the children involved in very serious danger, especially since it took time to re-inflate the bounce house enough to get the kids back out to safety.
“After the bounce house started to deflate, it was 57 seconds before returning to full inflation,” records state. “All of the parents expressed concern and fear for the children’s welfare at the time.”
Though Wotruba has yet to confess to any other wrongdoings, Romero explained to reporters after the incident that the cord to her family’s Christmas lights were also cut last year, which is why they installed security cameras in the first place.