Suspect in theft of SUV with baby inside to face kidnapping charges

SEATTLE -- Police say a man will face kidnapping charges, after stealing an SUV with a 10-month-old baby inside.

The girl was in a car seat in the back of her dad’s SUV when it was stolen from the parking lot of a convenience store in Highland Park.

“I believe that he was yelling that my child is in the car as it was being taken or driven away,” said detective Drew Fowler of the Seattle Police Department.

Twenty minutes later, Joyce Berger saw the suspect ditch the SUV in a White Center neighborhood.

“He jumped out the car, threw it in park, and jumped out running,” she said.

Some other people started looking at the vehicle, trying to figure out why it had been left in the street. That’s when they noticed the little girl.

“First thing was we had to make sure the baby’s OK. Gotta get the baby out or make sure it’s OK. I have a young son, so that’s all I could think about,” said Carlisia Minnis.

She jumped in the SUV to stop it from rolling down the street.

“I’m just grateful the baby’s OK. I just did whatever I thought needed to be done to make the sure the baby was OK.”

While the baby was reuniting with her parents, officers tracked the suspect to a restaurant a couple blocks away.

Waitress Miriam Chamle said he was arrested almost immediately.

“He walked in the door, came by the kitchen counter. Then police came. He didn’t say anything.”

Q13 FOX News spoke with the suspect’s cousin Wednesday night.  He said he doesn’t believe his cousin meant to harm a child.

“I just saw him and he was having some problems, personal problems,” said Miguel Sanchez. “I’m pretty sure he just saw the car was running and he took a chance and said I’m going to go for a joy ride.”

He thinks his cousin ditched the car as soon as he realized there was a child inside.

“My heart goes out to the family and I’m sorry that this happened. I’m just glad your child is safe.”

Police are glad, too. But they hope this case will serve as a lesson that parents should never leave their children alone in their car.

“We’re not blaming anyone here other than the man who kidnapped this child,” said Fowler. “But I’m certain the grief and heartache that father underwent certainly wasn’t worth it.”