SALEM, OR (KPTV) – Police in Salem are searching for a suspect they say stole a woman’s vehicle with her 2-year-old child inside.
The suspect stole the vehicle Tuesday afternoon from the parking lot of the Holiday Lodge in the 1400 block of Hawthorne Avenue Northeast.
Police later found the vehicle abandoned with the child still inside.
According to officers, the woman left it running with the keys and her 2-year-old girl inside while she went into the hotel.
When she exited the building, she saw her vehicle driving away north on Hawthorne and called 911.
Minutes later, Deanna Hill says a man – who later turned out to be the accused car thief – came inside the deli where she works, which is right across the street from the hotel.
Hill says the suspect asked her to use their phone.
“He’s a customer, he’s come in several times before and played, so I didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “He made his phone call and they came right up and picked him up moments later, and they took off.”
Hill says she had no idea police had been looking for the man along with the stolen car and that 2-year-old girl.
She only found out when police showed up in the parking lot and surrounded the car.
Officers say it was found abandoned 20 minutes after being first reported stolen. The child was still inside and was not hurt, according to police.
Officers reunited the girl with her mother and started searching for the suspect with help from a police dog. The suspect has not been located and investigators continue to work to identify them.
Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.