Minivan repossessed, towed with sleeping child inside in Philadelphia

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Watch the report from Action News at 5 p.m. on June 22, 2017. (WPVI)

A mother has been reunited with her young daughter after police say a tow truck driver who was repossessing her minivan drove off with the vehicle as the child slept in the back seat.

Police are hoping surveillance video from a Domino's Pizza can help clear up what happened.

The incident began at 2:30 a.m. Thursday in West Philadelphia.

Police tell sister station Action News that it seems the girl's mother was working as a pizza delivery driver in the evening hours and had her 7-year-old daughter in the van with her.

The vehicle was double parked out in front of the pizza place when it was repossessed with the girl asleep inside.

Carmino Giannone said he had no idea there was a 7-year-old girl sleeping in the back of the 2006 Ford Minivan when he hitched the vehicle up to his tow truck and drove off with it under orders to repossess it.
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Watch Action Cam video as the tow truck driver talks about what happened when he repossessed a minivan with a child sleeping inside.

"I could visually see right through the back of the car, and there was no occupants of the vehicle," he said. "So that means I can take the car, and that's what I did."

Around 2:30 a.m., the 26-year-old mother was finishing up for the night inside the pizza place at 45th and Chestnut when Giannone drove away with her van.

Giannone said he switched on his body cam just prior, searched the van from outside, saw nothing and drove away.
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Watch Action Cam video on the scene where a minivan was towed away with a child sleeping inside.

He did hear screams from the girl's mother and others as he left.

"We see that all the time, where people try to, as a deterrent, try to get me to stop," he said. "'Oh, let me check the car,' you know what I mean? Obviously, I am going to get out of the danger zone before I check that."

A bike officer pulled him over, but they still didn't see the girl inside the locked vehicle.

Then, at 50th and Woodland, Giannone met up with police again, and an officer spotted the child's leg.

The girl was soon reunited with her mother. Police will decide if charges are warranted.

"If it's deemed that the mother leaving the child in the car was in some way negligent or posed a danger to the child, the appropriate charge would be endangering the welfare of a child," Philadelphia Police Captain Sekou Kinebrew said.

Giannone said the police let him go without any charges. Special Victims is now investigating because of the child's age. She's in the care of other family members.

The child's mother was held on a warrant for a Camden County burglary. She has not been charged in connection with this case.

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