A frantic Wauwatosa man called 911 Wednesday afternoon to report his car had just been stolen with his 5-year-old child inside it.
A witness saw the act, quickly alerted others around and then gave chase. The suspect abandoned the car about two blocks away and ran, leaving the child unhurt.
Wauwatosa police arrested a 19-year-old Milwaukee man a short time later, extracted a sidewalk confession from him and turned him over to Milwaukee police for further questioning and booking.
According to the Wauwatosa police:
At 4:10 p.m. Wednesday, the car, with child, was reported stolen from in front of an address in the 8000 block of West Center Street, in Milwaukee but very near Wauwatosa. In minutes, both Milwaukee and Wauwatosa police were racing to the scene.
But while en route, officers were told that the car had been abandoned with the child safe inside. The car and the child were left at the intersection of North 81st and West Clarke streets.
A Tosa patrol officer heard on call that someone had spotted a possible suspect on foot and going north in the 2600 block of Wauwatosa Avenue. He headed that way, and at 4:16, just six minutes after the car was stolen, he spotted a young man in the 2700 block of North 75th Street who roughly matched the description of the suspect.
He rolled up to him, put down his window and called out, "Hold up a minute, man. Where are you coming from?" The subject halted, glancing around nervously.
The man was clearly out of breath but claimed he’d just gotten off a Route 76 bus a block away. The officer felt he had enough reason to handcuff the man as a suspect, and told him someone had stolen a car nearby, but the good thing was the owner had it back and no one got hurt.
The officer went on that he believed the person who had done it might have gotten scared and realized he shouldn’t have done this.
“What happened?” the officer asked twice.
“Something like that,” the suspect said.
Did he know there was a child in the car?
“That’s why I got out,” the suspect said.
At that point, the Wauwatosa officer ceased questioning and held the man for Milwaukee police.
Because the crime occurred in Milwaukee, it will be investigated there, and any charges, including possibly kidnapping, will be requested from there. The Wauwatosa police report does not include further information about the circumstances leading to the car theft or why the child was left alone in the car.
Wauwatosa Patch is seeking further information and will update the story.