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Crime Trackers: Kidnapped child is safe - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Crime Trackers: Kidnapped child is safe

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TUCSON - A 2-year-old boy is safe and the man who police say kidnapped him is behind bars.

Tucson police are calling it a crime of opportunity. They said 20-year-old Anthony Gracia jumped into the car driven by the child’s mother who stopped momentarily at the family’s apartment near Wilmot and 22nd Street.  She left the car running, the child in his car seat, and walked about 10 feet into the apartment to get her husband’s laptop.

Gracia got in the car and took off. Less than eight minutes later he dropped off the child at the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. Customers saw the child and wondered where the parents were. It wasn’t until the child tried to walk toward 22nd Street when a good Samaritan stopped him. 911 was called.

Meantime, Tucson Police said, a patrol officer heading towards the scene spotted the vehicle, and chased him. Gracia crashed the vehicle, got out and started running in the area of Sahuara and 23rd Street. Matt Ellerbroek was working in the area and spotted the suspect. He also told News 4 Tucson, he told the officer the direction Gracia was running.

The officer found him, pulled his weapon and told him to stop. According to Ellerbroek, the suspect ignored the commands. He kept running and even jumped over fences.

Gracia ended up climbing onto the roof of a daycare center. Police said, a nearby resident saw him and called 911. He was eventually arrested and taken to the Pima County Jail. He was charged with kidnapping, child abuse, auto theft, and third-degree burglary.

The child’s father, who asked we only call him Derek, said his son was fine and his wife was still shaken. He said he wanted to publicly thank the Tucson Police Department. He also wanted to publicly address the criticism they were receiving. He defended his wife and said she was a good mother who made a mistake. He said one she would never repeat again. He said their front door is 10 feet from the parking lot and in a split second the suspect took off in the car with their son inside.

Tucson police said the parents would not be facing any charges. They want to remind the public to be aware of their surroundings and not be a victim of a crime of opportunity.

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