Natalie Flores was found around 9 p.m. Friday after a patrol officer spotted the pickup truck of the man accused of kidnapping her, Sgt. Andy Hill said.
After a short pursuit, police stopped the truck and rescued Natalie from inside, Hill said.
"She is alive and well," he said. "I'm told she's in good condition. We have had our Christmas miracle."
Police received the call that Natalie had been taken at about 2:15 p.m. An Amber Alert was issued, and authorities began combing the area on foot, by car and with helicopters.
Hill said Natalie had been playing in a common area at the complex with her two sisters, ages 7 and 9, when a man parked his brown pickup in a nearby parking lot and walked over to them carrying a camera.
"He physically grabbed the 7-year-old girl and forcibly took a photo of her," Hill said.
The man then forced Natalie into the truck and drove away. Witnesses reported that as the man was fleeing, he hit a parked car before entering southbound 19th Avenue.
"At that point, we had a couple of adult witnesses there who saw the suspect and the girl inside the truck with him," Hill said.
Natalie and her sisters had been staying at an apartment in the complex with an aunt, who apparently has legal custody of them, and the aunt's boyfriend, Hill said. The girls' parents live separately out of state.
After the abduction, Natalie's older sister went to a neighbor's apartment and pounded on the door, The Arizona Republic reported on its Web site. The woman who answered, Donna Reed, said the girl was carrying a ball and appeared to be shaking.
"She said some man just took her little sister," Reed told the newspaper. "She was a nervous wreck."
Reed called 911.
The FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also helped with the search.