Police seek suspect who stole vehicle with baby inside
A vehicle that was stolen with a baby inside is pictured atthe parking lot where it was found near Dixon and Martin Grove roads Sunday March 20, 2016. (Jackie Crandles /CP24)
Joshua Freeman, CTV Toronto
Published Sunday, March 20, 2016 4:29PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 21, 2016 6:04PM EDT
Police say they are still searching for a suspect who triggered a province-wide Amber Alert on Sunday when he stole a car with a three-month-old boy inside of it.
The alert was issued at around 5:30 p.m. and lasted for about two hours after the vehicle was stolen outside a flea market in Rexdale. The child was found unharmed at around 7:30 p.m. sleeping in the back of the car, parked at a hotel near Dixon and Martin Grove roads.
Police are crediting a hotel worker with finding the stolen vehicle.
The employee noticed the car when he was out on a smoke break. Later that evening, he saw the Amber Alert on TV and realized that the vehicle being sought matched the description of the vehicle outside. He ran back out to check and found the baby. He then verified the 1997 Toyota Camry’s license plate number and contacted police.
The baby boy’s father told police his wife was shopping while he waited with the car. He had just stepped away from the vehicle when someone jumped in and took off at around 3:45 p.m. He tried to stop the vehicle, but it sped off north on Highway 27.
The grateful parents were reunited with their baby a short time later after he was checked over by paramedics.
“Thank you so much everybody,” the boy’s father said to news cameras Sunday night. “Thank you for that guy who took it – at least he had a conscience.”
As for the suspected car thief, police said Sunday night that the thief did not phone police after the vehicle was abandoned. He could therefore face child abandonment charges, police said. They said anyone with information about his whereabouts or the incident should contact investigators.
The suspect is described as a white male between 40 and 45 years of age. He stands five-foot-11 with a medium build and short blonde hair and was wearing a backpack.
Issues with the Amber Alert
Less than an hour after the father reported the child missing, police issued a description of the baby, the car and the suspect as part of the Amber Alert, urging anyone with information to contact investigators.
The alert was broadcast on every television and radio station as well as highway signs.
However, there were several issues as investigators scrambled to get the information out as quickly as possible. At one point, they had the colour of the car wrong. When the Amber Alert was reissued, the age of the suspect as well as the age of the baby was wrong. Many reported seeing the Amber Alert continue to flash on their TV screens hours after the child had been found.