For third time this month, car stolen in CT with child inside

Photo of Tara O'Neill
Officers responded to the Shell gas station on Hartford Road in Manchester, Conn., on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, for a reported vehicle theft. Responding officers learned that the car was taken with a 9-year-old child asleep inside.

Officers responded to the Shell gas station on Hartford Road in Manchester, Conn., on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, for a reported vehicle theft. Responding officers learned that the car was taken with a 9-year-old child asleep inside.

Manchester Police / Contributed

MANCHESTER — For the third time this month, a vehicle was stolen in Connecticut with a child in the backseat.

The latest incident happened around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Shell gas station on Hartford Road in Manchester. Officers were dispatched to the station for a reported vehicle theft and learned a 9-year-old child was asleep inside.

When the officers arrived, the vehicle’s owner had already been reunited with her child.

Police said investigators learned that the child, who was asleep in the backseat when the vehicle was taken, woke up and saw a stranger driving the vehicle.

“When the child recognized that the operator was not her mother, she began to cry,” police said. “The suspect, realizing the child was in the vehicle, pulled over, exited the vehicle and fled in an accomplice vehicle. The 9-year-old child ran back to the Shell gas station, where she was reunited with her mother prior to police arrival.”

Officers found the vehicle on the entrance ramp to Interstate 394, about a quarter of a mile from the gas station.

Surveillance footage of the theft showed the accomplice vehicle, a gray, four-door sedan, park alongside the victim’s running car, police said. A passenger got out of the sedan and hops in the running vehicle. Both vehicles then drove off west on Hartford Road.

There were no injuries reported, police said. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call 860-645-5500.

The last of a car theft with a child inside was on May 11. That night, police in Waterbury said a vehicle was stolen from a Shell gas station at 618 W. Main St. with a infant child in the backseat. The child was found sleeping in their car seat in the vehicle soon after and was unharmed.

A 5-year-old girl was found unharmed during the early-morning hours of May 3 inside a vehicle that was stolen from a Wolcott convenience store late on May 2 while the child was asleep in the backseat, police said. An 11-year-old boy also in the vehicle at the time and jumped out before the driver took off.

The suspects in all of the incidents remain at large.

Information on the Waterbury case can be reported to police at 203-574-6941 or Crime Stoppers at 203-755-1234.

Information on the Wolcott case can be reported to police at 203-879-1414.