A computer shop employee is being hailed as a hero after he helped police capture two suspects in the alleged theft of a minivan that had a 2-year-old child inside.
The harrowing incident unfolded on Tuesday in the city of Buena Park in southern California.
The Buena Park Police Department said that the boy was in a 2017 Toyota Sienna when it was stolen in the parking lot of the Emery Elementary School at about 9:30 a.m. The mother of the boy had left the minivan running as she ran inside the school for an errand. She said she watched as someone drove it away with her child.
The minivan was later found abandoned in Anaheim with the boy. He was unharmed.
About a mile away from where it was found, a computer shop employee said that he received a call from police immediately after processing a credit card payment from two males who had come into his store. Police said they were using the mother's stolen credit card.
“As soon as he tapped and made that purchase, I was contacted by the police,” said Daniel Espinosa to KTLA-TV.
The police told him the situation and asked him to write down the license plate of the vehicle the two suspects were driving. Instead, Espinosa tried unsuccessfully to coax the two back to his store, and when they left, he followed them in his car.
Espinosa gave police a moment-by-moment account of where they drove, and they were eventually apprehended through his efforts.
He said the family of the boy visited him to thank him for what he did.
“They gave me a big hug and they thanked me,” Espinosa said. “It was really nice.”
The boy was reunited with his family.
Buena Park police Sgt. Chad Weaver warned parents to never leave their children alone in a car for even 30 seconds, and to never leave a car running.
Here's a local news story about the incident:
2-year-old boy found after being abducted in stolen minivan in Buena Park
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