Teenager charged after vehicle with toddler inside was stolen

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) – A teenager has been charged with allegedly stealing a family’s car with their 2-year-old in it before leaving the child alone by the side of the road.

The 16-year-old, who was not named because he is a juvenile, was charged with his alleged involvement in vehicle theft, child neglect, unlawfully driving away a vehicle, lying and obstructing police, and malicious destruction of property under $1,000. says the police.

The Kentwood Police Department said the case will be dealt with in juvenile court.

That Morning of October 4th was a nightmare for the child’s parents. Around 8:10 a.m., while they were at the bus stop at 48th Street and Marlette Avenue in Kentwood, their car with their baby in it was stolen.

Desperately calling for help, his parents caught the attention of Kelloggsville bus driver Dave Skinner.

He then radioed other bus drivers that a vehicle with a child inside had been stolen. Another bus driver, Sue Figueroa, heard the news and realized she had just passed the blanket-wrapped toddler on the side of the road. She turned, picked up the child and brought him to his parents.

Kentwood Police Captain Ryan VanderVeen told News 8 he spoke to the bus driver’s supervisor on Thursday, who is grateful the suspect has been charged. VanderVeen also thanked the bus drivers for rescuing the child.

“They just did a great job,” said VanderVeen. “They could have just driven past, but they were careful. They checked each other out to see what was going on and without her who knows what would have happened. So thank you.”

In a statement Thursday, Kentwood Police Chief Bryan Litwin also thanked the citizens who rescued the toddler.

“I also want to thank the bus drivers at Kelloggsville Public Schools for their prompt action in locating the missing child and returning him to his parents,” he said.

The stolen Pontiac Torrent was found in Grand Rapids later that day.

Vanderveen said it was thanks to the help of witnesses that they were able to quickly locate the suspect.

“When we get help from people, witnesses or people who have tips, we welcome it because it really helps us track down these criminals and bring justice to the victims,” ​​VanderVeen said. “And in this case, it helped us protect a young 2-year-old from being hurt or missing.”

As in many communities, auto thefts have spiked in Kentwood this year. Most of the stolen vehicles were Kias or Hyundais.

VanderVeen said he has seen vehicles with children inside being stolen several times in his career.

“As far as I can remember, it turned out well for the kids involved,” said VanderVeen. “But it can get bad in the blink of an eye. Car theft can be very dangerous, as we have seen. We are truly grateful that this child was safely found and returned to his parents.”

In August it is happened in northeast Grand Rapids. Someone stole a vehicle containing a 6 month old child. The child was later found unharmed.

“There’s only danger risk, which is stealing cars, driving fast, there’s only the unknown,” VanderVeen said. “It’s just not worth it, I would say to these kids.”

— News 8’s Anna Skog contributed to this report.

https://www.woodtv.com/news/kent-county/teen-charged-with-stealing-vehicle-with-toddler-inside/ Teenager charged after vehicle with toddler inside was stolen

Dais Johnston

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