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Suspect steals car with child inside, held by neighbors until officers arrived, police say


Man accused of stealing car with child inside. (KATU Photo)
Man accused of stealing car with child inside. (KATU Photo)
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A man who allegedly stole a car with a 3-year-old child inside was arrested after he was chased and held by community members on Friday, according to Portland police.

Officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 4000 block of Northeast 16th Avenue just after 8 a.m.

The caller told dispatchers that someone had jumped in her running car and drove away with her 3-year-old son in the back seat.

The boy's father, who was also there, got in his car and followed the suspect, according to police.

Police said the boy’s father used his car to crash into the stolen vehicle near Northeast 21st Avenue and Northeast Multnomah Street. Police said that's when the suspect got out and ran.

The father got the child from the mother's car and was not hurt, police said.

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The father told passersby by what had happened, and they tried to find the suspect.

T.P. Brown Jr. was just on his way to work, when he saw the suspect take off.

He says he circled the block and then spotted him.

"I immediately floored it and pinned him against the fence," said Brown. "I asked him not to move until police get here. At that point, he tried to climb the fence. I got out of my car and grabbed him and detained him until police got here."

Before police got there, he had even more help.

"The Amazon driver, I wish I knew his name, he got out of his truck with a rope and we began to tie him and detain him," said Brown.

Brown said he believes it was all answered prayers.

"My prayer this morning for God to show up for me and put me in an impactful position to help other people," said Brown.

He's just thankful he was there at that moment.

"A mother and father could be without their child right now. I’m just thankful I was able to be impactful and have a happy ending to this story," said Brown.

The suspect was hurt during the struggle and was taken to the hospital. He is in police custody while he is being medically treated.

Portland police detectives responded to the scene and are investigating.

Police said the suspect will be identified after he is charged with a crime.

Detectives believe that some people were taking pictures and/or video of the incident in the area of Northeast 21st Avenue and Northeast Multnomah Street. Police said those may be crucial evidence in the case.

If anyone has taken images of the incident, they're asked to contact Detective Chris Traynor at Christopher.Traynor@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-0451 as soon as possible.

If anyone has other information about this case, and has not already talked to investigators, please e-mail crimetips@portlandoregon.gov and reference case number 22-52426.

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