A man has allegedly stolen a car with a 5-year-old sitting in the backseat while her mother left the car running as she went into Texaco Sunday morning in Alabama.
The mother ran outside the Ashville store after she saw that the man, identified as 45-year-old Michael Sawyer, jumped into her car and drove off with her child, Al.com reported.
“She started yelling, ‘You’re taking my baby,'” Ashville police Chief Ed Hampton said. But Sawyer didn’t stop the car, the chief added.
Authorities said that a lookout bulletin was issued for the car and the child. Meanwhile, the girl started crying for her mother, but Sawyer told her to be quiet and that he will drop her when it becomes safe to do so, according to Hampton.
Sawyer then left the child on the side of Highway 11 a while later where a woman passing by picked her up after she saw her crying. The child was not injured, according to Trussville Police lieutenant Clint Riner.
“It was very stressful but they’re back together now. The child is not hurt,” Hampton said, according to Al.Com. “She is very shaken. The mom is shaken.”
Police began chasing Sawyer after the girl’s father shared GPS tracking information, which showed the 45-year-old heading toward Trussville.
The Trussville police spotted Sawyer as he traveled with the stolen car on Interstate 59 southbound at Deerfoot Parkway, but he escaped when officers tried to stop him.
The police continued their chase as the stolen vehicle ventured to Chalkville Mountain Road into Grayson Valley and then onto Old Springville Road before heading back toward Deerfoot Parkway.
“From what I understand, he hit another vehicle at the Publix over there at the intersection of Old Springville Road and Chalkville Mountain Road,” Hampton said, according to the Trussville Tribune.
Sawyer then left the car in the subdivision and continued escaping on foot. He was later found with help from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that had a tracking dog on duty nearby. No injuries were incurred during the chase, according to Al.com.
Sawyer is now being held without bond at St. Clair County jail where he is now facing charges of kidnapping a minor, theft of motor vehicle, and fourth-degree theft of property.
Newsweek reached out to the Ashville Police Department for comment and additional information.
A similar incident happened on July 4 in New Mexico where a woman, identified by the police as Regina Castillo, reportedly stole a car that belonged to a mother who entered a store in Hobbs, leaving her 6-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son inside the vehicle, the Hobbs Police Department said in a statement.
The woman returned from the store and tried to stop Castillo from stealing the car, but Castillo allegedly pushed the woman out of the way and drove away with the woman’s children still inside the car.
“The suspect’s attempt to elude Officers was short, however while actively pursuing the vehicle, officers learned the suspect had abandoned the six year old victim at the intersection of Apache and Fowler just prior to the pursuit beginning,” the police said.
Castillo later left the car and fled on foot, but officers eventually found her hiding behind a pickup in a residential neighborhood. The suspect was arrested and the children were reunited with their mother.
The police said that Castillo already had three active arrest warrants, at the time of the incident, for failure to appear on the charges of concealing identity, shoplifting and failure to appear for traffic violations.
Castillo is now facing charges of the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer, child abuse, and resisting evading or obstructing an officer.