LEWISTON — Police returned two young boys found wandering in an empty lot on Lisbon Street on Wednesday morning to their father, who thought they were asleep in their room.

Police said it wasn’t a case of child neglect – the father had come home after a long night at work and fell asleep while the boys, ages 1 and 3, were also sleeping. The boys woke and managed to get out of the house on Baird Avenue despite childproof coverings on the doorknobs, Lt. Michael McGonagle said. They got dressed, although the youngest didn’t have pants or shoes.

McGonagle, one of three officers sent to retrieve the boys about 9 a.m., said they first crossed Baird Avenue to play in the yard of a church. When they got bored, they crossed St. Croix Street and wandered around in the deserted parking lot at the former Xtra Mart on Lisbon Street, two blocks from their home.

That’s when neighbors and passers-by became concerned and called police.

McGonagle said he asked the children to lead them to their home, but instead they took police to a nearby business where their father worked. Employees there didn’t recognize them, so officers put them in a cruiser and drove around the neighborhood looking for yards with children’s toys.

“That’s how we found the father,” McGonagle said.

When their father answered the door, he thought his children were in their room sleeping, McGonagle said.

The father was told to take extra measures to prevent them from escaping their home, the officer said.

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