A 21-year-old New Orleans man has been arrested for stealing a car with a baby inside on Wednesday.
Jonathan Perkins was arrested Thursday around 4:30 p.m. near Avron Park Blvd. and Morrison road in eastern New Orleans.
The stolen car incident happened at a Chalmette gas station around 11, Wednesday morning.
“I think he picked the wrong place and the wrong car to steal here in St. Bernard Parish,” Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann said.
Witnesses say a woman was at pump 2 at the Chevron on Paris Road fueling up. Her one-year-old son was sleeping in the back seat.
Investigators say a man who had just stolen a car out of New Orleans was at pump 5.
Sheriff Pohlmann said the woman left the car running with the baby inside to get some change from the cashier.
“When she came back out, that’s when she discovered the vehicle missing,” he said.
Security cameras show a man in an orange construction vest, later identified as Perkins, walked slowly toward a white Subaru Outback. He then gets in the driver’s seat and backs away from the pumps with the baby boy still in the back seat.
A woman who works at the casino next door, who did not want to be identified, said the mother was hysterical when she came out and her car was gone.
“She was screaming. Screaming my baby, my baby, my baby.”
According to the Sheriff, Perkins sped away from the gas station, down Paris Road, over the green bridge, into New Orleans.
A short time later, deputies located the 1-year-old alone but unharmed sitting on the side of the road on the Almonaster, I-510 overpass. That’s the first exit over the bridge.
The stolen Subaru with Mississippi plates was also found abandoned in New Orleans.
“It’s an event that of course is very tragic to the mother,” Pohlmann said. “It’s an event that could have turned out really bad for the one-year-old being left on the interstate. The baby could have crawled into a lane of traffic and could have been easily killed.”
Chalmette truck driver Buster Fabalora had some harsh words for the kidnapping car thief.
“You’re a low life, low life,” Fabalora said. “You can’t get no lower.”
The casino worker hopes this case is a valuable lesson for everyone.
“If you leave it, lock it, and don't leave your child in the car,” she said.
He is now facing auto theft and aggravated kidnapping of a child charges.
“Who knows had we encountered the guy with the baby in the car, what he would have done,” Pohlmann said. “I think we all got lucky on this one except the suspect because he’s in a lot of trouble and when he’s captured, he’ll be facing some very serious criminal charges.”
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