Suspect arrested after stealing car with baby inside in Vineland

VINELAND, N.J. (WPVI) -- A suspect is under arrest after police say he stole a vehicle with a young child inside.

Surveillance video at the USA gas station on Landis Avenue in Vineland, Cumberland County shows the mother of the child exiting her Volkswagen SUV Tuesday night.

As she's going into the store, the suspect actually passes by her going the other way.

A few seconds later, he turns around, notices the car is still running and unlocked.

He jumps in and starts to pull away as the mother is seen chasing off behind him screaming and yelling.

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Surveillance Video: Car theft in Vineland on May 30, 2017.

The child's father Richie Lewis says he was at work when he got a call from his wife.

"She called me and said, 'Rich, somebody took the baby and took the car, too.' After that, everything went blank. I was just coasting, trying to find where he's at. I'm still in shock now," Lewis said.

Richie Lewis II, who just turned 1-year-old on Saturday, was sleeping in the backseat of the car.

Police responded immediately and found the car abandoned with the baby inside a few blocks away.

They distributed the video of the suspect to all officers through their mobile data terminals in their patrol cars.

A short time later, a K-9 officer located the suspect, identified as 31-year-old Pedro Ortiz of the 200 block of Plum Street in Vineland.

Ortiz, arrested less than an hour after the car theft, has been charged with 1st degree carjacking, kidnapping, and related offenses.

"Glory be the God who just let my son come back without anything happening to him," Lewis said.

Police say this is another example of why a child should never be left unattended in a car.
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