Armed car thief crashes stolen vehicle with baby in back seat, police say

Updated: Dec. 5, 2019 at 8:23 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Police say a man stole a vehicle with a baby inside and crashed in east Charlotte before he was arrested near a school where children had been playing outside.

The incident unfolded around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Police say the suspect stole the car and crashed on Eastway Drive near Arnold Drive. A baby around 18 months old was inside the car at the time and is reportedly OK.

#BREAKING: Police have shutdown a busy east Charlotte road after a person carjacked a vehicle with a child inside. The car flipped with the baby in the backseat. Suspect ran but is now in custody »

Posted by WBTV News on Thursday, December 5, 2019

Police say people on scene removed the visibly upset child before he was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Police said this could have been "a much worse situation.” A gun was also found along the man’s path, police say, which likely belonged to the suspect, who was later identified as Maurice Rakestraw, 29.

Rakestraw was charged with 1st Degree Kidnapping, 3 counts of Armed Robbery, Felony Hit-and-Run, Misdemeanor Hit-and-Run, Felony Flee to Elude, Larceny of Motor Vehicle, Firearm by Felon, Possession of a Stolen Firearm, Possession of a Firearm on Educational Property and Resist/Obstruct/Delay.

The suspect took off after crashing, running toward Merry Oaks International Academy where children were outside playing, police say. The children were immediately told to go inside and the man was arrested in the school parking lot. Police estimate 100 kids were playing outside.

Nearby Merry Oaks International Academy was placed on lockdown for a time.

No names have been released.

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