A black Infiniti sedan stolen from a South Claiborne Avenue gas station with a child in the backseat was located by investigators this week, but the likewise-stolen red PT Cruiser that was involved with the case has yet to be found, New Orleans police said.
The driver of the Infiniti had left his daughter and his keys in the car while he went inside the gas station in the 2100 block of South Claiborne to pay for gas, while a friend watched from another car, police said at the time. The red PT Cruiser pulled into the gas station parking lot, and a man jumped out of it and into the Infiniti and drove off with the child inside, police said. The victim and his friend tried to chase the stolen Infiniti in the friend’s vehicle, but it got away, and the child was found unharmed wandering at Treme intersection about 15 minutes later, police said.
The PT Cruiser had been stolen from a Valero gas station two nights earlier in a similar manner, police said. The driver had pulled in, and while he was outside the car, someone else got in and drove off in it, police said. In both cases, the headlights were left on, indicating that the keys were in the ignition, police noted.
Video of the latter case involving the kidnapping has been widely distributed, but no video was recovered of the first theft, police said.
The black Infiniti was subsequently located in the 2300 block of Loyola Avenue in Central City, said Sgt. Daniel Scanlan of the NOPD Sixth District at Tuesday’s meeting of ranking officers. The car is being processed for DNA and other evidence, Scanlan said.
Investigators have also received fruitful information from CrimeStoppers, Scanlan said, that has led them to a person of interest in the case. Investigators are now reviewing the surveillance footage for other possible leads, such as images of the suspects prior to the theft of the PT Cruiser.
The major missing piece of the investigation remains the PT Cruiser (Louisiana license plate XTF 472), which Scanlan said he is surprised hasn’t turned up yet. Investigators have been searching both in Central City and the area near the former Iberville projects where the child was found, but without success so far.
Anyone with additional information is urged to call Sixth District detectives at 658-6060 or CrimeStoppers at 822-1111.