Update: Suspect arrested, jailed in West Seattle theft of SUV with baby inside

August 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 55 Comments

3:25 PM: Just tweeted by Seattle Police: “Officers searching for black SUV near 16SW/SW Holden after suspect steals car w/ 10-month-old child inside.” Suspect/vehicle description from SPD: “Hispanic male, 20s, 5’7, very short hair driving black Ford Edge w/ 22″ rims.” Please call 911 if you think you’ve seen it or know anything about it.

3:34 PM UPDATE: Baby and vehicle have been found in White Center. Police are now trying to find the thief.

3:42 PM UPDATE: If you are in south West Seattle or White Center, you’re probably noticing at least one helicopter – this is what it’s related to – TV chopper for now, law-enforcement chopper Guardian One expected too. One of the choppers belongs to Channel 7, which tweeted an aerial view of the recovered SUV:

4:03 PM: According to radio discussion, police do know who they are looking for. Meantime, commenter Rachel reports what happened when the SUV turned up in White Center’s Greenbridge neighborhood:

I was in Dubsea Coffee when this was occurring. I noticed the black Edge parked in the middle of the road. People were honking at it as they tried to drive down the road. I thought it was bizarre that someone would park right in the middle of the street, but went back to working. About 10 minutes later, I decided to leave Dubsea and that’s when I saw a few people trying to look into the car. Someone realized that there was a baby in the car and opened the front door. That’s when the car started rolling backwards and everyone was scrambling to get out of the way. Finally, a woman jumped in and put the emergency brake on. A few seconds later, the police showed up and got a description of the perpetrator. A few minutes after that, another patrol car showed up with the father of the baby. It was so incredibly heartbreaking to watch him grab his baby out of the car. I am so very glad that there were people around who noticed the baby on this hot day. The people who called 911 and acted quickly to report this should absolutely be commended.

4:19 PM UPDATE: SPD reports a suspect is in custody.

9:31 PM UPDATE: As noted in comments, TV reports included surveillance video of the theft – here’s one version of the clip. The man who was arrested was booked into King County Jail just after 7 pm and is being held for investigation of kidnapping and vehicle theft; three domestic-violence cases are listed in his entry on the jail register – one listed as violation of a no-contact order. and the other two as fourth-degree assault. We’re checking if he has a record beyond that.

9:54 PM UPDATE: The suspect, who turns 25 years old tomorrow, has a home less than a block away from today’s incident, according to court documents from the June case involving the no-contact-order violation. The case involved an incident in June at the home of the suspect’s girlfriend, in the Puget Ridge area – he allegedly took her car without permission, and, according to the documents, almost left with the girlfriend’s 7-year-old daughter in the car. The girlfriend tried to stop him from driving it away; the court documents say, he used a Taser-type device to hurt her. Her daughter got out of the car before he left with it; he later abandoned it, the court papers say, after crashing it into a utility pole.


  1. Holy Crap

    Comment by alki Resident — 3:32 pm August 27, 2014 #

  2. I guess that explains the helicopter right over head! I live right off of 16th & Holden.

    Comment by AmyB — 3:37 pm August 27, 2014 #

  3. Why was the baby left in the car?

    Comment by West Seattle Mom — 3:37 pm August 27, 2014 #

  4. I’m glad the baby was found safe!!

    Comment by Westgirl — 3:39 pm August 27, 2014 #

  5. WSMom, no idea about the circumstances. Nor whether the thief was known or unknown to the car’s owner. Right now they’re focused on trying to find him.

    Comment by WSB — 3:41 pm August 27, 2014 #

  6. Yikes! Weapon involved? . I’m on 15th and Barton and the helicopter is overhead. Maybe I’ll lock the doors.

    Comment by Michele R. — 3:43 pm August 27, 2014 #

  7. Live on 13th and Caimbridge and have 2 news copters overhead and plenty of sirens coming from Roxbury. Hope they find this POS!!!

    Comment by J — 3:49 pm August 27, 2014 #

  8. This makes my stomach churn. I have a nine-month-old. This is exactly why if I have to run back into the house for something I forgot after I’ve already put her in the car – even if it’s only for 30 seconds – I ALWYS lock the car door.

    So glad the child was found safe!

    Comment by Amie — 3:58 pm August 27, 2014 #

  9. Just in case I needed another really solid reason never to leave my kids in a car. So scary! Very glad the child was rescued!

    Comment by ConcernedMama — 3:59 pm August 27, 2014 #

  10. They are still circling white center at 16th ave s and sw 104th 3 coppers guess they have not found guy.

    Comment by h — 4:00 pm August 27, 2014 #

  11. Just drove right by the park near there and SPD and King County officers were running around with tactical rifles and shotguns and more police vehicles on the way. I got out of there quick.

    Comment by Bradley — 4:00 pm August 27, 2014 #

  12. I was in Dubsea Coffee when this was occurring. I noticed the black Edge parked in the middle of the road. People were honking at it as they tried to drive down the road. I thought it was bizarre that someone would park right in the middle of the street, but went back to working. About 10 minutes later, I decided to leave Dubsea and that’s when I saw a few people trying to look into the car. Someone realized that there was a baby in the car and opened the front door. That’s when the car started rolling backwards and everyone was scrambling to get out of the way. Finally, a woman jumped in and put the emergency brake on. A few seconds later, the police showed up and got a description of the perpetrator. A few minutes after that, another patrol car showed up with the father of the baby. It was so incredibly heartbreaking to watch him grab his baby out of the car. I am so very glad that there were people around who noticed the baby on this hot day. The people who called 911 and acted quickly to report this should absolutely be commended.

    Comment by Rachel — 4:03 pm August 27, 2014 #

  13. wow – glad baby is safe, no matter the reason he/she was left alone!

    Comment by BMC — 4:03 pm August 27, 2014 #

  14. Whenever I see a story like this one, I am so thankful to live in a neighborhood where people intervene in a crisis. So glad the baby is safe!

    Comment by Whew! — 4:07 pm August 27, 2014 #

  15. It’s still a very active search. As just added to the story, police believe they know who they are looking for. Also please note before assuming the baby was left inside the car alone – we don’t know if that was the circumstance, or if it was more of a carjacking or what.

    Comment by WSB — 4:08 pm August 27, 2014 #

  16. He probably hopped at bus by now.

    Comment by alki Resident — 4:15 pm August 27, 2014 #

  17. My heart breaks hearing how the father embraced his baby when he got to him. Gave me chills.

    Comment by alki Resident — 4:26 pm August 27, 2014 #

  18. If you didn’t see the update, suspect’s in custody. Less than an hour after the baby and SUV were found in Greenbridge. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:29 pm August 27, 2014 #

  19. There is a blue and white helicopter hovering. With binoculars I can’t make out if it is Komo or sheriffs.

    Comment by tim — 4:29 pm August 27, 2014 #

  20. Guardian One has been involved, as was at least one TV chopper. Since it’s news time you’ll likely see helicopter(s) for a while even though the suspect is in custody, baby is safe, etc. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:31 pm August 27, 2014 #

  21. So happy this has turned out well. For those of you already condemning the parents, just STOP IT! Even if the baby was left in the car this does not give anyone the right to steal the car!!!! These people are the victims, not the criminals.

    Comment by Lolapop — 4:32 pm August 27, 2014 #

  22. That was pretty cool watching it all on the Channel 7 streaming from the chopper. Caught the guy at 17th and Roxbury in the Mexican restaurant on the corner.

    Comment by JB — 4:33 pm August 27, 2014 #

  23. They pulled the suspect from the Mexican Restaurant on 17th and Roxbury. Glad to see they caught this POS and the child is safe

    Comment by J — 4:34 pm August 27, 2014 #

  24. Having been monitoring the scanner as the wide-ranging search unfolded, it sounded like officers were getting lots of tips, so kudos to everyone helping. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:36 pm August 27, 2014 #

  25. Why do people ask questions of us readers such as; “Why was the baby left in the car?” Now…approximately 30 min after capture/arrest… much more police activity in W.C. again.

    Comment by Markb — 4:40 pm August 27, 2014 #

  26. 4:46 pm, another helicopter hovering at about 16th SW/SW Roxbury….

    Comment by sally — 4:46 pm August 27, 2014 #

  27. I can’t say enough about Seattle and King County police who came together and found this guy within and hour. This is an amazing event and hopefully a lesson to all of us parents and grandparents who need to think twice about leaving our kids unattended for a second. This could’ve easily happened to any one of us. This father will never look at his baby the same way.
    This guy who stole the suv ,WILL be out of jail eventually and back at it stealing cars. Please be safe out there.
    In times like this,Thank God for our blog so we all can watch for these type of situations and help locate people.

    Comment by alki Resident — 4:50 pm August 27, 2014 #

  28. I was at 16th and Holden light when what had to have been the father was running frantically to the fire station across the street. He was on the phone, but the look in his eyes and expression was one I won’t forget–sheer terror. Sooo glad the baby is ok!

    Comment by Ldr — 4:55 pm August 27, 2014 #

  29. Yes….Helicopters are BACK OVER WHITE CENTER AGAIN.!!! Perhaps wrong suspect?

    Comment by Markb — 4:59 pm August 27, 2014 #

  30. I was there when this happened and the person was parked right in front of a store in front of a huge amount of people and all of a sudden this man runs from out of nowhere and jumps in car. The owner was holding his keys and standing there in shock and screaming at the guy when he started taking off. I was so surprised on the quick response of the police. The owner of the store has video and was going to watch and see if he had anything to help with crime. Alot of people were at the bus stop and in the parking lot which holds a espresso stand and food joint, lot’s of witnesses and I am glad they found this man

    Comment by christine drake — 5:01 pm August 27, 2014 #

  31. The suspect was reported to have been positively ID’d by victim and/or witnesses. Obviously that doesn’t equal a conviction – he has yet to have his day in court. As for the helicopters – unless something new has broken out that we haven’t heard of yet, keep in mind, it’s 5 pm TV news time.

    Comment by WSB — 5:04 pm August 27, 2014 #

  32. This is also why I have all doors locked at all times while driving.

    If the car owner had his keys in his hand, how was the suspect able to drive off?

    Comment by Amie — 5:10 pm August 27, 2014 #

  33. Wow, so glad the baby is alright, so scary to think about that.

    Comment by Jason — 5:49 pm August 27, 2014 #

  34. There was something else, I am guessing, going on around the same time (4:15ish). I drove by a house near 17th and 107th and there were multiple police/sheriff vehicles plus a fire engine outside a home on 107th. Shortly after turning south onto Ambaum, I had to pull over for an ambulance headed in that direction.

    Comment by Graham Morgan — 5:54 pm August 27, 2014 #

  35. … minor point, but in my last post, I should have noted I turned south on 16th, not Ambaum.

    Comment by Graham Morgan — 6:21 pm August 27, 2014 #

  36. Amie…keyless start? It’s a new car. And, yes, why do people always blame the victim? He may have strapped his child in the back seat, walking around to his side, and suspect takes car? Think about it…and don’t blame before you have the whole story. Geez.

    Comment by JanS — 6:37 pm August 27, 2014 #

  37. JanS – I wasn’t blaming anyone. I was asking a simple question. Chill out.

    Comment by Amie — 7:33 pm August 27, 2014 #

  38. This could have very easily happened without some derelict parent screwing up again. I JUST today, pulled my car around my alley, pulled up right in front of my garage to load the baby stroller into my car. The drivers door was left ajar and while I was inches from my car (baby strapped in car seat) if some scumbag with a weapon approached me (and I didn’t kill him first) could have easily joked in my car, with my child. The other scenario would be, dad gets out of car- walks around the other side to get baby out and someone jumps in during that walk around. People need to stop always blaming parents for everything that goes wrong. It’s a hard enough job and even those who strive for perfection will never provide the perfect and safe upbringing for their kids. Give us all a break and show some compassion that this poor baby has his daddy back.

    Comment by Wsrez — 8:50 pm August 27, 2014 #

  39. I saw the video on the news and it happened very quickly and the dad was just steps away from the car. The thief acted almost as soon as the dad got out of the car. It could’ve literally been as fast as the dad walking around to his side as JanS said. I can see the same thing happening to me at some point when my kids were little. How terrifying for the dad and thank goodness the baby was recovered swiftly and unharmed! Also very glad they caught the creep who did this. I assume kidnapping will be a much more severe punishment than car theft so hopefully he will actually be locked up for a while.

    Comment by kayo — 9:11 pm August 27, 2014 #

  40. Very glad this ended the way it did and this baby is home safely. Such an incredible, quick response from so many people in West Seattle and White Center. Thank you, neighbors!

    Comment by m — 9:17 pm August 27, 2014 #

  41. http://bit.ly/1vSuUJi
    christine drake and kayo- the video from the convenience store does not match your account of what you believe you saw.

    Comment by Marianne — 9:32 pm August 27, 2014 #

  42. The story is updated with information we just found about the suspect’s criminal history; he was booked into jail a few hours ago and likely will have a bail hearing tomorrow.

    Comment by WSB — 10:00 pm August 27, 2014 #

  43. Go easy on those asking about the circumstances. When faced with random acts of violence, it’s normal for people to try to find something that would distance them from the victims. It’s fear. And empathy. If a person can grasp on to some fact that separates them from the crime and the victim, it makes that person feel safer. It’s not being mean or judgmental, it’s fear. It helps people sleep at night to think that something like this couldn’t happen to them. Of course they’re wrong. Random acts of violence happen. But fear is powerful.

    Comment by D — 10:44 pm August 27, 2014 #

  44. I drove my in-laws new Ford Taurus ALL THE WAY HOME FROM THE AIRPORT without the keys because it has the fancy push start thing and we never turned the car off when dropping them off. Luckily I realized it before I turned the car off! He could have been standing within a few feet of the car with the keys when this guy jumped in and could have pressed the on button. Very, very scary!

    Comment by AJP — 12:04 am August 28, 2014 #

  45. Read this guy’s criminal history. Absolutely ridiculous! This guy needs to be locked up for a good while. This POS is absolutely worthless and brings absolutely nothing to the table of society. Hopefully our justice system gets some teeth and puts him a way for a long time.

    As for the SUV. Am I to understand that once inside the car, you don’t need a key to start it, but simply push a button? If that’s the case, that’s not fancy, but a dumb design.

    Comment by Eric — 5:04 am August 28, 2014 #

  46. Is this going to be the incident that finally breaks the camels back? When is this neighborhood going to stop being neglected in the crime fighting dept. Every day SOMETHING happens around here.The attitude seems to be ” Oh well its down there in Westwood/ White Center,they don’t matter as much as OTHER sections of West Seattle”.What type of heinous crime is it going to take before something is done about this. A crime a day keeps gentrification away, maybe thats the attitude that will change perspectives.

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 7:16 am August 28, 2014 #

  47. Just yesterday I left my kids inside my car with keys in the ignition while I walked back to my house to retrieve the mail. This could happen to me. I will be more careful

    Comment by Guilty — 7:21 am August 28, 2014 #

  48. If the father had been armed, would it have been legal to shoot the thief? The justification being that he was stealing a child, the counter argument being that the thief didn’t know the child was in the vehicle. Does it matter what the thief knew or didn’t know about the extent of damage he was doing during the act of committing a crime? I am not implying that a weapon would have made a better outcome,or a worse outcome with the possibility of innocent people getting shot,the question isn’t about guns just the legality of the scenario.

    Comment by thistle stairs — 7:55 am August 28, 2014 #

  49. My heart aches picturing the man embracing his baby after such a horrific ordeal. Absolutely terrifying. I will pray for them. It’s going to take a long time to emotionally recover from such trauma. God bless.

    Comment by lox — 8:25 am August 28, 2014 #

  50. This seems like a good time to remind folks about how vulnerable we can be while we pump gas – I am guilty of leaving my keys, purse & phone while I pump gas into my (unlocked) car. Bad idea & this is why.
    I appreciate the last comment too – my kids are older now but in sure I did that 100 times while they were little; I guess I just wasn’t thinking about this possibility!

    Comment by DBurns — 10:32 am August 28, 2014 #

  51. Asking questions is neither rude, un-compassionate, nor blaming the victim. It’s how we ascertain facts and progress in our vigilance as a society in thwarting cavalier criminals and keeping our loved ones safe. While my heart races when I even think of being in the father’s shoes yesterday, it doesn’t mean pausing, reflecting, asking questions, and thinking of ways to ensure this doesn’t happen again is off the table. So many are so quick to judge these days, instead of just getting the facts, our thin skins will leave us vulnerable if we don’t pay heed to lessons learned. I’m sure the father will not repeat the same steps ever again, and I’m in no way condemning him when I say that. It’s sad we can’t trust those around us in our own communities, but there’s a reason we heard “better safe than sorry” a lot growing up. Viewing the video, it looks like the car might even have been left running, which a concerned parent might do to keep the AC running on a hot day, so the baby is comfortable, while having no idea that a brazen criminal might steal the car – even with a kid inside! None of this makes the Dad a bad guy in any way. Probably just a parent with multiple tasks at hand and things on his mind, who let his guard down for a few seconds right where a shark he didn’t see was circling. We can all learn from this and should.

    Comment by pjmanley — 12:29 pm August 28, 2014 #

  52. @sophista-tiki: We’re stuck in a rut over the crime issues, because almost any time they are brought up, accusations of class-warfare, better/well-heeled neighborhoods, etc. arise and thwart the discussion. Personally, I don’t live in Westwood, but I’m there all the time, for shopping, sports, dining out, etc., and to me, West Seattle is West Seattle, and at times I’m a lot more scared of what’s happening at Alki Beach than Westwood. We’ve also got a “stand-down” protest among some of our police force, politicians who worry more about leafy boulevards than public safety and buses that run on time, etc., etc. I see lots of stuff that concerns me all over West Seattle, but if I mention it, I’ve got the homeless lobby, the mental illness lobby, the various neighborhood lobbies, etc., jumping my insensitivity, callousness, heartlessness, etc. That said, the level of crime, filth, and anti-social behavior we are currently tolerating in West Seattle is atrocious. I overheard a Jefferson Square Safeway employee telling a customer that they are not to confront liquor thieves for fear of causing a big scene, getting hurt or hurting someone. So instead they have an employee posted in the liquor aisle almost all day long. Which means, all concerns aside, we’ve surrendered the fight on some levels, and I don’t think things are going to get better until people stand up and push-back as hard against thugs and criminals as they push for bike lanes and tree-lined streets. Priorities.

    Comment by pjmanley — 12:56 pm August 28, 2014 #

  53. Yes we assumed he had a keyless start because he was frantically pushing on his key button

    Comment by christine drake — 1:16 pm August 28, 2014 #

  54. Very sad situation but thankfully has a happy ending. There’s a video of what happened :

    Just glad that baby is okay and I’m sure the dad is feeling very lucky today. The lesson learned here is to never ever leave your child or baby alone in the car. Even if it’s just a few seconds, take them with you.

    Comment by Alki mom — 1:19 pm August 28, 2014 #

  55. and it was pointed out to me by a new mother I know (daughter – lol), that no amount of punishing this guy for leaving his child unattended will be as much as the punishment he gives himself. (or his wife gives him !).

    Comment by JanS — 5:56 pm August 28, 2014 #

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