Thirsty children and concerned neighbors led to the arrest of two Orlando men Tuesday on charges of fraud and nine charges of child neglect.
According to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, children were going door-to-door selling food and other items along Kenway Street, near Deltona Boulevard in Spring Hill.
The children said they were raising money for a nonprofit, “Aware and Active Youth Corp” out of Orlando. One of the youths asked a resident for a glass of water, and responding deputies later found nine children had been left in the area without food, water or phones. The youths, ages 12 to 15, said they didn’t know where they were.
Detectives later learned the children had been taken from Orlando to Spring Hill by Kendy Senat, 22, and Terence Holiday, 21, who had dropped them off around 1 p.m. until 6 p.m., when the Sheriff’s Office was called.
The children said they sold each item — purchased at a dollar store — for $8, and they were allowed to keep $2.25, with the rest of the money going to Senat and Holiday.
The children said they usually worked eight to 12 hours a day, earning between $5 and $50.
When the children’s parents were contacted, they said they thought their children were with Senat and Holiday at a youth convention in Tampa.
Detectives believe the men took about $500 from Hernando County residents.
Both Senat and Holiday are being held in lieu of $60,000 bond.
The sheriff’s office cautions residents from purchasing goods from strangers or individuals who say they represent a charity.
Any victims of Senat and Holiday are asked to email Detective Wayne Peterson at
Orange County court records show Senat had his adjudication withheld in a 2010 felony robbery by sudden snatching case, as well as misdemeanor charges of petit theft in 2010 and 2008.