WOLCOTT, CT (WFSB) - A 5-year-old girl was found safe early Monday morning after the car she was in was stolen by thieves in Wolcott.
The suspects, however, remain on the run.
"She’s been shaking all night," said Deserea Morris, the girl's mother, in an exclusive interview with Channel 3. "The trauma she has to go through. That was not the best experience. They should pay for what they done."
Wolcott Police Chief Edward Stephens said the girl and her 11-year-old brother were in the car when their mom stopped at a Cumberland Farms gas station on Meriden Road around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.
That's when a second car pulled up and a suspect jumped into the running vehicle. It was caught on surveillance video:
The 11-year-old jumped out of the car, but his sister was in the backseat as the thieves drove off. In the video, he could be seen running after the vehicle as the suspects sped out of the parking lot.
"He was screaming. He was screaming for his mother and started chasing after the car and actually ripped his cast of while he was going down the road chasing the car," said Mike Mazziotte, an eyewitness.
Wolcott police were quick to respond and started the process of requesting an Amber Alert. Additionally, officers from Southington, Cheshire and Waterbury assisted with searching for the vehicle.
Police released the 911 calls from the incident:
It was found off of Knollwood Drive with the 5-year-old still inside.
"I happened to be going along Todd road," Stephens said. "I went up Split Rock and I found the car right in the middle of the roadway and the young victim, the 5-year-old, she was in the car sleeping when I found her."
Police said the child was not physically hurt and was reunited with her family.
"Thank you everybody, and I’m just happy to have my daughter back in my arms," Morris said.
Police said the mother left the car running while going inside the store to buy gift cards for her son's teacher.
Morris admitted she learned a lesson and that she'll be taking her kids into every stop with her from now on.
"Lesson learned is even if your child is 11, 12 do not do not leave the keys in the car with your kids," she said. "Like, your kids have to go in with you at all times."
Police said they have DNA evidence and fingerprints that were found inside the car. The suspects will be charged with kidnapping and risk of injury to a minor when they're found.
"It’s not gonna be just for car theft, this was kidnapping," Stephens said. "A child was in the car, it was kidnapping. And they will, when we catch them, pay the price for that."
Stephens said the town has seen a dramatic spike in vehicle thefts in the community. He urged everyone to be vigilant and not leave vehicles unlocked and running, even if just for a moment.