FONTANA (CBSLA.com) — A baby left inside a car stolen from a Fontana shopping center Monday has been found safe, and the suspected thief was arrested.
Just before 2 p.m., a woman left her 2013 silver Kia Optima with her newborn inside with the keys in the ignition to pick up food at a Chipotle restaurant at 10515 Sierra Avenue.
Police said a man seen loitering in the area immediately jumped into the car and took off with the seven-week-old child inside.
The mother screamed for the man to stop but he kept driving.
“We just saw the mom running after the car, jumping on the car like trying to catch her child. But she couldn’t because he was driving off so fast,” said Jersey Mike’s Subs employee, Mariana Martinez. “He’s been hanging out since yesterday in the morning. Today, he decided to come in again. So we decided to kick him out.”
About an hour later, officers found the stolen car in Norco – about 20 miles from where it was taken.
Police said the suspected thief abandoned the vehicle in the parking lot of Stonebridge Christian Academy at 4913 Bluff Street and tried to flee with the baby.
That was when officers caught up with the accused thief and kidnapper.
The child was taken to a hospital to be checked out.
Police hoped this case will be a warning parents to think twice before leaving their small children in the car.
“I get it. People need some convenience. They want to go into a restaurant. In that case, I would recommend a drive-thru or something of that nature or have someone else in the car with the child,” Sgt. Keith Zagorin of the Fontana Police Department.
Investigators said the man, whose name has not been released, was arrested on suspicion of burglary in Ontario three days ago.