Suspect in custody after stealing running car with child inside in Harlem

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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Man steals running car with child inside in Manhattan
N.J. Burkett has more from Harlem.

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- A suspect is in custody after stealing a running car that had a 1-year-old girl inside on Tuesday morning in Harlem.

It happened around 9 a.m. at 300 W. 134th St.

The child's father double parked outside Chloe Day School with the child inside. He was escorting an older sibling into the school, and paused inside to ask a question about the upcoming graduation when the thief jumped into the car with the little girl in her child seat, the principal said. She said he was distraught over his carelessness.

Law enforcement was able to track the vehicle using a phone left inside. They called it and they believe the suspect actually picked up.

The car was quickly located at First Avenue and East 72nd Street.

Jakyrie Grant, 34, is charged with grand larceny auto, kidnapping, criminal possession of stolen property, acting in a manner injurious to a child, unlawful imprisonment and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell and Operations Commissioner Kaz Daughtry helped coordinate the response moments before appearing live on Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10.

"We actually coordinated this downstairs before we came on the set... and thankfully we got the child back and not harmed and take the bad person off the street," Chell said.

Chell says that besides the child being in the car, the concern was the weather.

"The weather was going to get warmer today, and we didn't want a situation where a baby was left in the car with the heat," he said.

Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett spoke by phone with the child's father, who declined to discuss the incident but praised the NYPD for saving his little girl.

It was the second time in three days that a car was stolen in New York City with a child inside. In the Bronx this weekend, a 6-month-old boy was safely recovered after officers tracked that car.

"The mother said, which is very interesting, 'It was just a couple of seconds.' And you know what? That's all it takes for somebody to take your car," Daughtry said.

Chell warned to always be diligent, because mistakes happen.

"Be aware of your surroundings and technology is great, I mean, make it quick," Chell said. "Find your iPhone and take whatever you do to protect your family and your property and just be aware of what's going on. We make mistakes, but just be aware what you're doing."

Grant was also arrested two days ago in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for allegedly stealing a car in front of a repair shop on 421 Meeker Avenue. Police say he broke the driver's side door window while the vehicle was left running and drove away.

In that case, he was caught 15 minutes later in front of 24 Frost Street and charged with grand larceny auto, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal mischief.

Grant has those two arrests and a theft of service in the subway on June 15.


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