GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A mother was asking for directions when her vehicle was stolen with her 5-month-old daughter in the backseat on Friday night in Greensboro, according to a newly-released 911 call.
Greensboro police are still trying to identify the suspect.
In the 911 call, a woman who identifies herself as the child’s mother tells dispatchers that her daughter was in the backseat of her vehicle when it was stolen from a Marathon gas station on Randleman Road
“I just went to the counter and that was it,” she said in the call. “… I didn’t even leave her. I just went right to the counter. That was it. That was it. I didn’t even get anything. I just asked for directions.”
She said that she had her son with her at the time of calling.
Greensboro Police Chief Brian James provided an update on Saturday during a news conference and asked the public for help finding the suspect accused.
“At this time, we have not located the suspect,” Chief James said. “We are still attempting to identify him, so I ask that…the public continue to circulate that picture so that we can identify this person and hold this person accountable for the crimes that occurred last night.”
At about 9:22 p.m. on Friday, a mom with two children stopped at the Marathon gas station at 2435 Randleman Road to get directions.
She brought her 3-year-old with her inside the gas station and left her 5-month-old daughter, Nora Starr Grant, in her black 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan with it running, Greensboro police said.
During that time, someone jumped in the car and took off.
An Amber Alert was issued for Nora, and both the child and the car were found hours later in Winston-Salem.
“When you’ve got a small child that is completely helpless and defenseless, it really puts us in a different place when we’re trying to investigate,” Chief James said.
Nora was found on Highland Avenue around 6:30 a.m. by a person who called the Winston-Salem Police Department, and the car was found on 11th Street and Cleveland Avenue.
Ricky Pegese was on his way to his friend Bill Mercer’s house to paint when he heard a noise.
“I said to my friend…’looks like the cat abandoned the kitten.’ He says ‘it sounds like a baby.’ I said ‘it does sound like a baby doesn’t it?’ Pegese said.
That’s when he went behind the apartment complex to the dumpster and spotted Nora.
“She was clinching on to some limbs in her fingers,” he said.
“I went blank. Just why. I just saw this 5 minutes ago on the TV. It came on my phone. I deleted it from my phone because I thought it’s nothing like this happening around here,” Mercer said.
This is the third time since April 5 Greensboro police have been called about a child left in a running vehicle that was stolen.
“My biggest fear in these cases. Of course, when you’ve got a small child, an infant, who is completely helpless, you don’t know if that person will harm the child,” Chief James said. “You certainly don’t know if the person is going to leave the child out in the elements, which is what we have found to happen.”
In this case and two others, the children were found safe.