The suspect is seen rushing into a Sunoco gas station with the child in hand.
Screenshot: Palm Beach Post

The suspect may be a thief, but a kidnapper he refuses to be.

According to the Palm Beach Post, a Florida man who deputies say stole a car with a baby still strapped inside pulled over at a gas station where surveillance video shows him handing off the baby to a clerk before fleeing.

“Take the baby! Take the baby!” the man apparently pleaded.

Michelle Ashby, who co-owns the Jack’s Place restaurant located inside the Sunoco gas station, said that the suspect knocked on the door of the station’s convenience store to get the attention of the overnight clerk. Surveillance footage shows the suspect, dressed in a white tank and dark pants, pulling up in the dark car before he gets out, takes the baby’s car seat out of the car and approaches the store.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said that the suspect stole the black vehicle—which was left with its engine running—at around 4 a.m. from another gas station at Wallis and Haverhill roads, just west of the Palm Beach International Airport.

Advertisement

He then drove some 6 miles to the Sunoco gas station just south of Okeechobee Boulevard on State Road 7 and passed the baby over to the night worker.

“[The clerk] said the suspect appeared to be scared and in a hurry when he knocked on the door,” Ashby said.

The infant, who is 5 months old, was peacefully asleep in the carrier, and the clerk immediately called 911. When deputies arrived, the child was just starting to wake up and fuss.

Advertisement

“It hurt my heart because being a mom of four, I knew he was hungry,” she said. When the mother arrived, “she was just happy and relieved to have her baby,” Ashby said.

Deputies tracked the stolen vehicle some 3 miles away; however, as of Tuesday afternoon, the suspect was still at large.