SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A man who allegedly stole a vehicle with a 6-year-old child inside at a Suffolk convenience store Wednesday morning is now in custody, and the child is safe, Suffolk Police said.
Police said a call came into the Suffolk 911 Center at 6:30 a.m. from a man who said his green Chevrolet Malibu had been stolen with his 6-year-old daughter in the backseat while at a convenience store in the 800 block of West Washington Street.
The unknown person took the vehicle, which was unlocked and running while parked near the gas pumps.
Officers at the scene began canvassing the area for the vehicle while reviewing video footage and checking license plate recognition cameras. Police said they were able to get footage of the suspect and shared it with other officers and law enforcement in other localities.
About 15 minutes after the report of the stolen vehicle with the child inside, the Suffolk 911 Center got another call saying a young girl was outside in the 2000 block of Smalley Dam Circle and saying she was lost. Police said when officers arrived, they were able to confirm that the lost girl was the child from the stolen vehicle; the girl was not hurt and was reunited with her father.
At 6:54 a.m., police said license plate detection cameras showed the stolen vehicle on Pretlow Street in Franklin, and notice was sent to both Franklin Police and the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office, Suffolk Police said.
Franklin Police found the vehicle unoccupied at 7:25 a.m. in the 300 block of Edwards Street. Officers there were able to observe the suspect by the location of the recovered vehicle, but he left on foot, and Southampton County’s Sheriff’s Office helped to track the suspect using a K-9 unit.
Suffolk detectives, Franklin Police and Southampton County Sheriff’s deputies kept looking for the suspect in the area, showing people the surveillance photo of the suspect, Suffolk Police said.
At 9:04 a.m., with the help of several people, they found the man behind a residence in the 600 block of Hayden Drive in Franklin, and the man, Juwan O’Shae Allen, 27, of Suffolk, was taken into custody without incident, police said.
Allen has been charged with grand larceny (motor vehicle theft), abduction, child endangerment and petit larceny, police said, and he was also served with an outstanding warrant – capias fail to comply with support obligations.
Allen is currently being held at Western Tidewater Regional Jail without bond.
Suffolk Police said they are continuing the investigation.
Anyone with more information is asked to contact Suffolk Police or the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.