Fresno County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Ventura teenage boy early Thursday morning who two days previously allegedly stole a car with a 3-year-old girl asleep in the back seat in Fresno.
The boy, 17, who was living in a Fresno group home, faces felony charges for auto theft, kidnapping and child endangerment. The boy is also on probation and had an active arrest warrant, the sheriff’s department said.
Deputies arrested the boy about 1 a.m. Thursday in the 43000 block of Millwood road in Dunlap. Members of the Fresno HEAT team directed deputies to Dunlap after developing information that a stolen 2006 Honda Accord might be in the area. Deputies found the vehicle and the team assisted deputies to get the boy to come out of the home, where he was arrested without incident, the sheriff’s office said.
The stolen Honda is in good condition and is being processed for evidence, and will be returned to the owner once it has been processed, the sheriff’s office said.
According to the sheriff’s office, the car was stolen about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday from Punjab Auto Repair shop at the corner of West Belmont and North Pleasant avenues. The owner of the car had backed it into a stall and left the car idling with his daughter taking a nap in the back seat.
The father was talking to a shop employee a short distance away about fixing his rear bumper. No one was aware the alleged car thief was pacing around the block for about five minutes. He eventually walked behind the idling car, stood by the car for a minute, then crept to the driver’s door, got in and sped off, the sheriff’s office said.
The father and the shop owner called for someone to dial 911. The father got into a passenger seat of another customer’s car and the owner and father tried to chase the suspect, but quickly lost sight of him. Within 10 minutes of the call, a motorist called the California Highway Patrol and reported a little girl had been dropped off at West Dennett Avenue, about a half mile north of the auto repair shop.
The motorist stayed with the girl until an officer arrived. She was unharmed and reunited with her father, the sheriff’s office said.