A 1-year-old boy who was inside a minivan when it was stolen Thursday afternoon in Montebello was later found “safe and unharmed,” authorities said.
After an Amber Alert was issued in the case, a person who received the notification saw the Honda Odyssey about 6:50 p.m. in the parking lot of a Pico Rivera McDonald’s, in the 9300 block of West Slauson Avenue, according to a statement from the Montebello Police Department.
The missing child, Caleb Castro, was found in the vehicle, the Police Department said.
He was reunited with his mother, Maria Castro, at the location. Sky5 video showed the baby sitting in his mother’s lap, on a gurney, as both were placed into an ambulance. They were then transported to a hospital in Whittier, where Caleb was examined.
Afterward, a smiling Castro held her son in her arms while speaking to reporters outside the medical center.
“I cannot say I’m mad or something like that. I don’t really feel like that,” she said. Referring to the man who stole her minivan, she added: “I just say thanks to him that he left the baby OK and he didn’t do anything to him.”
Surveillance video shows the minivan being parked outside the McDonald’s when it arrived shortly after 3 p.m., according to the police statement.
A suspect then exited the Odyssey alone and left the area in a different vehicle, the news release said. He remained at large Thursday evening.
The initial incident took place about 3 p.m. in a parking lot at SA Recycling, at 1545 Gage Road (map), where Caleb’s mother stepped about 10 feet away from the dark red minivan to recycle some items, the Police Department said in a statement.
Caleb was in the Odyssey with two girls, ages 4 and 6, when a man approached and ordered the girls to get out of the vehicle, according to the news release. The keys were in the ignition, enabling the man to start the engine and begin driving away, police said.
As Caleb’s mother screamed that her baby was in the minivan, the thief drove it out of the parking lot and southbound onto Gage Road, the statement said. The dramatic incident was captured on surveillance video.
The boy was described as Hispanic, 2 feet tall, weighing 22 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt and black-and-gray camouflage sweat pants when he was taken. The 2003 Honda Odyssey had California license plate No. 6TRZ025, according to authorities.
The man being sought in connection with the crime was said to be Hispanic, about 30 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a thin build and spiked hair, wearing a black shirt with stripes.
According to a spokesperson for Montebello police, after the crime was reported, the department requested an Amber Alert be issued. An official notification about the alert was delivered to mobile devices and published on social media about 6:15 p.m., and was cancelled after the child was found.
“I’m thankful to God … he brought him to me again — healthy and happy, like, the same,” Castro said of her son. “I’m just happy.”