Police search for suspect that stole car with baby in back seat, ditched child in parking lot

Crime

(WFLA) – Authorities continue to search for the suspect who stole a car with a baby inside.

The car was stolen just before 12:30 p.m. Monday afternoon from the Gateway Apartment complex on 116th Ave. North.

Ricardo Larzabal prayed with the family of the child after learning the was kidnapped.

“I said, ‘hey, you know, why don’t we do a group prayer together’ and we huddled right over here and prayed for the safe return of the baby,” said Larzabal.

Police said the suspect was riding his bike around the complex, when he came across the vehicle with the engine running.

Detectives said the father ran back inside the house to grab his wallet.

The car was gone when he returned.

“Just before 12:30, a car had been stolen and there was an 8-month-[old] baby boy in the back seat and so at that point, we’re looking all [over] the city,” said Yolanda Fernandez, St. Petersburg Police Department spokeswoman.

Police believe the kidnapper realized the baby was in the back seat and dropped him off in the parking lot on 71st Avenue North, where News Channel 8 photographer Michael Egger found him while working on an unrelated story with investigative reporter Mark Douglas.

The suspect kept going but eventually ditched the vehicle in south St. Petersburg near 19th Steet.

“We recovered the car about a half hour after it was taken, many miles away in another part [of the] city,” said Fernandez.

The search for the suspect continues.

Police said the suspect is described as 5’7″ and weighs 130 lbs, with dark skin.

Witnesses said he was wearing a dark shirt, with light colored shorts and had red boxers.

The family thanked Michael Egger and Mark Douglas.

After speaking with the family, News Channel 8 learned they are in need of baby furniture and supplies.

They created a GoFundMe account last week, to help raise funds.

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