Two days after he stole a car with a sleeping 3-year-old girl inside, a 17-year-old boy was arrested early Thursday morning at a home in Fresno County, authorities said. The child had been found safe shortly after being taken.
The teenager, whose name was not released, was booked into the Juvenile Justice Center on felony charges of auto theft, kidnapping and child endangerment, according to a statement from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
The crime occurred about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, after a man brought his 2006 four-door Honda Accord to Punjab Auto Repair, at West Belmont and North Pleasant avenues in Fresno, for service, the news release said.
He parked the car and left it idling while his 3-year-old daughter took a nap in the back seat. The man was having a conversation with a shop employee, investigators said, when the suspect approached the driver’s-side door, entered the vehicle and drove away. The episode was captured on surveillance video.
The girl’s father shouted for someone to call 911. He then got into the passenger seat of another customer’s car and they chased the Accord, but quickly lost sight of it, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Within 10 minutes of the 911 call, a motorist called the California Highway Patrol and reported that a car had just dropped off a small girl on the side of a road, about a half-mile north of the repair shop, and drove away. The motorist stayed with the unharmed child until an officer arrived, the statement said, and she was reunited with her father.
About 1 a.m. Thursday, sheriff’s deputies responded to a home in the 43000 block of Millwood Road in Dunlap, where they found the stolen vehicle, authorities said.
The suspect, a 17-year-old Fresno resident originally from Ventura, exited the residence and was arrested without incident, according to the news release.
The recovered Accord, which was in good condition, was expected to be returned to the owner after being processed for evidence.