NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A 14-year-old is accused of carjacking a vehicle outside a Tennessee strip mall on Tuesday, allegedly removing a 4-year-old boy from the car before driving away, authorities said.
According to a news release from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, the teen entered a Chevrolet Cruze at 5:40 p.m. CST. that had been left running and unattended.
The child was left on the sidewalk and was unharmed, police said.
A Wingstop employee said the victim came into the store to pick up a to-go order, WKRN-TV reported.
“This woman came in she had an online order for a delivery or pickup,” the employee, named Emanuel, told the television station. “I’m about to go clock out and next thing you know, she came back in crying, sitting down with her child and she’s talking about her car got stolen and do we have cameras outside. I’m like, ‘No, I don’t know anything about that.’ I didn’t see her car getting stolen or nothing.”
The victim called police, who used a helicopter to locate the vehicle, WTVF reported.
Officers successfully deployed spike strips to stop the vehicle, police said in their news release. The teen fled on foot and was taken into custody.
During an interview, the teen admitted that he took the vehicle after removing the child from it.
Frank Lombardo, who lives near the strip mall, said he was concerned about the carjacking but thankful the boy was not hurt.
“You don’t know if it’s their parents not paying enough attention or what it is,” Lombardo told WSMV-TV. “It’s happening a lot more often. It’s not an isolated thing.”
“The MNPD reminds Nashvillians to lock their automobile doors and remove the keys,” police said in a statement. “A vehicle left running and unattended, even for a brief time, can be easily stolen.”