West Hartford

16-Year-Old Accused of Stealing Car With 2-Year-Old Inside It

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A 16-year-old suspect faces kidnapping and other charges after West Hartford police say they stole a car while a 2-year-old child was still inside.

According to police, they received a 911 call from the car's owner around 2:30 p.m. stating their car had been stolen from Premium Auto on New Britain Avenue and that the child was still inside.

Officers spotted the vehicle and used a tire deflation device to slow it down. The car then crashed into another vehicle at the corner of South Main and Sedgwick Road. No injuries were reported.

Police said the suspect then fled on foot and was quickly found and taken into custody. The toddler was not in the car.

Investigators discovered that the suspect had dropped the toddler off in the car seat in front of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana after stealing the car. The child was unharmed and has been returned to the family.

Pepe's released a statement on their part in the incident:

"We were glad that we could be there to help this baby and family be reunited. We commend the quick action of the people who alerted our Pepe's team members and the police who took such quick action to ensure the safety of this baby. It is a day no one will soon forget."

State lawmakers are discussing the rise in car thefts by teens.

The 16-year-old suspect remains in police custody and was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. Police said they do not have a history with the suspect, who is from New York, but because of the seriousness of the crime, they are pursued a "Take Into Custody order, which will require the approval of a judge.

The suspect faces multiple charges including second-degree kidnapping, risk of injury to a minor, reckless endangerment, second-degree larceny, engaging in pursuit, reckless driving, evading responsibility, interfering with an officer, second-degree criminal trover, operating without a license, and following too close.

The investigation is ongoing.

More details were not immediately available.

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