CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are searching for two suspects in connection to the kidnapping of a 2-year-old girl at a south Charlotte gas station Monday night.
Police identified one suspect as 18-year-old Jesse Kelly, who is wanted for larceny of a motor vehicle. second degree kidnapping, and felony conspiracy in connection with this case.
Officials said they are also looking for an unidentified suspect last seen wearing a red and black jacket and hoodie. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 20 years old.
Police said the 2-year-old girl is safe at home after she was kidnapped Monday night after her mother left her alone inside a running car while she went inside a south Charlotte gas station.
"I don't know what her motivation was behind leaving the car running and the child in the car, but she did both of those and was in the store in excess of five minutes," CMPD Lt. Brad Koch said.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the toddler was kidnapped around 11:30 p.m. when her mother left the car running outside the Quick Trip on South Boulevard.
“They just drove off with my car, and my 2-year-old's in the car, ma'am,” a caller told a 911 dispatcher.
Officers said two men jumped inside the woman's Ford Focus and drove away with the toddler inside.
“Ma’am, ma'am, if you keep yelling, I can't understand you,” the 911 dispatcher said.
“I walked into the front door of the gas station and these boys hopped in my car with my child in there," the caller said.
Police said the suspects did not get far because the child's father was nearby and began following the stolen vehicle. The father and another man called 911.
"We're coming up on Arrowwood, right now," a caller told the dispatcher.
"Sir, stop following the vehicle," the dispatcher said.
"My daughter's in the car," the father said.
“Your daughter is in the vehicle?” the dispatcher said.
"Yeah, his daughter's in the car,” the other man said. “We ain't got no choice but to follow."
The suspects reportedly abandoned the car near the intersection of Arrowood Road and South Boulevard, which is about two minutes from the gas station, and ran off.
The child was not injured and was immediately returned to her family.
"You can't trust anybody, unfortunately," a customer at the gas station said.
CMPD said the girl's mother received a citation for child neglect on suspicion of leaving her daughter unattended in the car.
Officials are asking people to not leave their cars running or unlocked, especially at gas stations or in their driveways.
No arrests have been made in connection with the case.
Last year, officers executed an initiative at the QT in South End to educate the public on why vehicles should never be left unattended with the keys inside.
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