Hartford man accused of abandoning children on Super Bowl trip

HARTFORD (WITI) -- A Hartford man has been arrested in Pennsylvania for abandoning children who were fundraising for him. He is accused of leaving the children at a Pennsylvania mall, instead of taking them to the Super Bowl, as he had promised.

What do a pagoda-style former gas station, a stack of used tires, an anti-Obama sign, vicious dogs, three unused vans, 10 abandoned kids and 39-year-old Rafeal Andrews of Hartford have to do with the Super Bowl?

That's what Pennsylvania police are trying to figure out.

Andrews was arrested in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania -- 861 miles from home.

Andrews reportedly runs the charity "Christian Programs for Inner City Children" -- and had the kids out soliciting for money door-to-door.

No one was at the charity's listed "headquarters" -- a former gas station at the corner of South and Branch in Hartford.

"I've never seen anyone in there -- like never. I know the vans are there, but that's it," neighbor Samuel Kelly said.

Andrews' home is just a few blocks away. No one answered when FOX6 News knocked at the door.

Andrews was arrested and remains in custody in Northampton County Jail in Easton, Pennsylvania.

According to court paperwork, Andrews has been charged with endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.

Police say he would take the children and have them stay at hotels, and during the day, would leave them unsupervised to go door-to-door to solicit donations for the organization.

Court documents say officers were called to the West Gate Mall by several children that were abandoned there.

The kids ranged in age from nine to 17.

The complaint says the children reported that they were cold and not fed for the entire day.

The complaint says they were promised by the defendant that the next day they were to go to a Super Bowl party at MetLife Stadium.

That trip never happened.

Andrews remains in custody in Northampton County Jail. His bail was set at $150,000.

The kids are back home, and safe.