NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police have released surveillance video of a suspect who they said stole a Jeep in the Bronx with a 7-month-old baby in the back seat.
Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the child’s parents’ decision to leave her in the car has left many people scratching their heads.
“It’s crazy,” said neighbor Noble Dedusevic. “Why do you leave a kid in a car?”
Around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, police said he made off with the car at Morris Avenue and East Kingsbridge Road.
The baby’s father had stopped in front of a Boost Mobile store, got out and went inside, police said. A few minutes later, the baby’s mother joined him, leaving the keys in the car and their 7-month-old daughter, Ayanna Julbe, in the back seat, police said.
“He said, ‘oh look at this phone.’ She stepped out for a second as well and as she stepped out, the dude, some dude, took the truck and apparently he didn’t know the baby was in the back,” said family friend Krystal Guzman.
That’s when police said the suspect took off. Witnesses said the baby’s frantic parents tried to run after the car, but couldn’t catch up.
The Jeep was apparently running and unlocked at the time of the theft.
The parents discovered the abduction after they left the store. Both the clerk inside and the staff at the barbershop next door said there was no ruckus or shouting.
“The cops told me what happened,” said Boost Mobile clerk Jessica.
Ramon at the barbershop said, “No, nothing,” when asked if anyone was crying or wondering frantically where his or her baby was.
The parents called 911, and the search for little Ayanna was just getting underway when the apparent car thief realized there was a baby in the car. He tried to ditch it at a garage nearby on Inwood Avenue, where he was caught on surveillance video.
A parking garage attendant said he had never seen the thief before.
About an hour after the initial theft, police found the Jeep and the baby under the elevated subway structure on Jerome Avenue – about a block away from the garage – following a tip from an anonymous caller.
The 7-month-old was still inside, unharmed.
She was taken to Montefiore Hospital for evaluation. By late Tuesday night, Ayanna was said to be resting comfortably.
Police Wednesday afternoon were looking for the alleged thief seen in the video.
Meanwhile, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services has launched an investigation into the baby’s situation, so as to ensure the decision to leave her alone in the Jeep was just a momentary lapse of good sense rather than a larger pattern.
Police as of Wednesday afternoon were still looking for the suspect who they described as a heavy-set Hispanic male wearing a black and white striped shirt, jeans and a baseball cap.
Anyone with information should call police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.