Local News

Toddler, Stolen SUV Recovered

Posted January 29, 2007 3:29 p.m. EST
Updated January 30, 2007 6:33 a.m. EST

— A toddler was inside a Jeep when a thief took it from the pumps at a north Raleigh gas station Monday afternoon, but she was found unharmed a short time later, police said.

Jamyah Leilan Jones, 3, was strapped in her car seat when her mother's white Jeep Cherokee was stolen from a Kangaroo-BP gas station on Wake Forest Road north of New Hope Church Road at about 2:30 p.m., police said.

The girl's mother had gone inside to pay for gas and apparently had left the 1998 Jeep running, police said.

The vehicle was found about 90 minutes later in a shopping center parking lot at the intersection of Strickland and Creedmoor roads, police said. The girl was still in her car seat and was unharmed, police said.

They said they believed the thief abandoned the car after realizing he had kidnapped the girl in the theft.

Police said the girl was later reunited with her mother shortly after 4 p.m.

A man was walking along Wake Forest Road near the gas station, jumped into the Jeep and drove off, police said. He is described as a black man who is about 6 feet 1 inch tall with a medium build and wearing a three-quarters length coat, police said.

State officials initially reported the man had been arrested at the same time as the girl and the vehicle were found. But police were still searching for the suspect Monday evening. They were examining surveillance tapes from the business for clues to the man's identity.

Authorities are also looking into a discrepancy in the time the crime was reported. The incident was reported at 2:30 p.m., but the Amber Alert was not issued until 80 minutes later.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Raleigh Police Department at 919-890-3555.