LEWISTON — The Lewiston home from which a handgun was stolen this week, leading to a seven-hour police standoff, is located above a day care center.

The day care center, Wing’s Safari, operates out of a basement at the ranch-style home on Laase Avenue. According to court records, the handgun, a Smith & Wesson .380, was stolen from a basket on top of the refrigerator inside the home’s main-floor kitchen.

The theft was quickly reported. The convicted felon accused of taking it, Scott Estes, 37, ran into an apartment building on Bates Street, which was quickly surrounded by local and Maine State Police.

Four schools were ordered locked down Monday during the standoff, which ended peacefully after seven hours of negotiation.

Since the event unfolded, one local parent has come forward to criticize Ashley Wing, who operates the day care center. Among her complaints: the fact that an unsecured handgun was left on top of a refrigerator above the day care center, and the revelation that Estes had been allowed into the home during business hours.

“People trust you with their children,” the Lewiston mother said Thursday, “and you have a firearm on top of your refrigerator and a felon in your home during day care hours?”

According to police documents, Estes went into the home Monday morning with his girlfriend, who operates a cleaning business. He has a criminal history that includes convictions for assault, illegal gun possession, theft and trafficking in prison contraband.

But Wing denied Thursday the implication that unsafe conditions existed at Wing’s Safari. Her home, she said, is kept completely separate from the day care facilities in the basement.

“It’s in a daylight basement with a locked fire door, a locked back door, two separate entrances,” Wing said. “Children are not allowed in my home – everything is separate. We have our own kitchen, bathroom and the children are not allowed upstairs.”

The entrance to Wing’s house faces the street. The day care entrance is at the back of the house. To access it, one has to pass through a fence gate. There is a “no guns” sign on the main door, a security keypad lock and surveillance cameras monitoring the property around the clock.

The interior door separating the day care from Wing’s house is a fire door equipped with a child-proof knob cover.

“This is probably the safest home day care that you’ll ever find,” Wing said.

According to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, firearms and ammunition are prohibited in licensed child care facilities. Wing said the rule does not apply to her home because it is classified as a separate dwelling.

She notified state officials minutes after the incident began Monday, and a state official was expected to inspect Wing’s Safari in coming days. In the meantime, Wing said, her license remains intact and she is still providing day care services for her regular customers.

The woman who complained about Wing on Thursday did not want to be identified. She said she has been leaving her children, ages 1 and 3, at the day care since August. She was mostly happy with the service – until Monday.

“Our general impression of the day care,” the woman wrote in a letter to the State Division of Licensing, “was that it seemed clean, well-supplied with plenty of toys, activities, etc. and that the staff were all friendly and attentive. We had a few minor concerns during the past few months that we discussed with Ashley and they were resolved upon discussion.”

In her letter to the Licensing Division, the local mother described conversations she has had with Wing about the way the event unfolded Monday.

“Ashley stated that she has cleaners that she hired to come clean her house every Monday, and that one of the cleaners often brings her boyfriend along, even though Ashley has asked her not to,” the woman wrote.

The day care was locked down for a short time Monday as police searched for Estes.

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