VINELAND — A man stole a car from a South Jersey gas station with a 1-year-old child in the back seat on Tuesday.

The baby's mother called 911 after she watched someone get into her car, which was parked outside the gas station's convenience store where the mother was buying a few items, according to Vineland police.

Video of the incident posted by ABC6 Action News shows the mother coming outside waving at the VW SUV as it pulled away on Landis Avenue.

Police said they were able to send surveillance video of the incident out to officers who found the vehicle a short time later a few blocks away. The boy was still strapped into his car seat unharmed.

A K9 unit found suspect Pedro A. Ortiz a short distance away at Main Street and Landis Avenue. He was charged with first-degree carjacking and kidnapping, and third-degree theft of auto. He was taken to the Cumberland County jail.

Vineland EMS returned the boy to his parents after checking him over.

The boy's grandfather, Jeffrey Lewis, thanked police on Facebook.

"THANK you for his safe return. We are overwhelmed with joy. THANK you Vineland Police Department your quick response is to be commended."

 

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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