Man accused of stealing SUV with 3-year-old child inside arrested

VIDEO: Vehicle stolen with child in back seat
(Source: Rowan County Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Rowan County Sheriff's Office)

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A man accused of stealing a SUV with a three-year-old child in the back seat from a Salisbury convenience store on Wednesday morning has been arrested.

Derrick Dashawn Brown, 20, was arrested and booked into the Rowan County jail just after 2:30 a.m. Friday.

The SUV, with the child still safely inside, was later recovered about a mile from the scene.

Police say just after 12 a.m. Wednesday, a man stopped at the Pop Shoppe in the 1800 block of W. Innes Street to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. He left his Ford Escape in the parking lot with the engine running and the doors unlocked.

According to police, a man, later identified as Brown, jumped into the car and took off.  The child's father and a worker at the store ran out to chase the SUV. The entire incident was caught on surveillance video.

“It's heartbreaking the first time I saw it, it made me cry, you know it's any parent's nightmare," said Vicky Stillman, the owner of the Pop Shoppe.

A short time later a woman contacted police to ask them to check on a suspicious vehicle in front of her home on Tabernacle Street. “There was a lady that came up and said there was a suspicious vehicle that was parked down her street that we needed to check on," said Captain Sheila Lingle of the Salisbury Police Department.

When police arrived they found the Ford Escape with the child still inside.

“She got up and decided she needed to some purchase something here, so she came out in her pajamas and got in her car and right out in front of her house an abandoned car was parked in the middle of the road," Stillman added. “That's what led them to find the boy so soon and the only thing you can thank for that is God, God used her to find this little boy.”

Police issued warrants for the arrest of Brown shortly after. Brown is charged with kidnapping and larceny of a motor vehicle. He was given a $500,000 bond. 

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Salisbury Police at 704-638-5333, or Salisbury-Rowan Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.

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