ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A mother and her baby are reuniting after an SUV was stolen with the child inside, according to the Asheboro police.
Monday morning, police arrested a suspect after a chase in Asheboro.
The sheriff’s office says an SUV was stolen with a young child in it outside of Harbor Freight Tools on East Dixie Drive.
The mother told police she parked her SUV in front of Harbor Freight Tools and went inside to pickup an item she had ordered.
The SUV was left running and unlocked with her eight-month-old child inside. While she was inside, the suspect, later identified as James Allen Harris, 32, of Troy, got in the SUV and drove away.
Officers from the department’s patrol division and criminal investigations division started investigating.
Harris stopped at Cross Road Baptist Church to hook up a disaster recovery trailer to the SUV.
Staff members told FOX8 it happened quickly.
“It’s just been a bizarre day,” said Justin Curry, the minister to students, college and young professionals. “It was completely unbeknownst to us that this had even happened.”
Curry said church members and law enforcement called to inform staff the trailer was stolen.
“I think a lot of things really fell into place to bring that family back together and see this resolved without more tragedy involved,” Curry said.
Officers learned where the SUV was from a cell phone that had been left inside.
Darrell Elrod told FOX8 he had a close call with Harris on Highway 49 near Tot Hill Farm Road.
“If I hadn’t hit my brakes, the car would probably be gone and me too,” Elrod said. “He would’ve hit it right in the side.”
The location information was updated periodically by the cell phone company., and officers used the information to learn the SUV had left the city limits of Asheboro.
The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and sent deputies to the last location given. After numerous updates, the SUV was found, and deputies tried to pull it over.
The SUV refused to stop, and a pursuit began that went through areas south and west of Asheboro.
Harris and the baby were found when the pursuit ended on the 1100 block of Chamberlin Drive, about four miles away from the initial scene.
The child was unhurt and reunited with her mother.
“I’m just glad that they got him,” Elrod said. “If there’s a child involved and he didn’t care no more than that about a child there’s no telling what would’ve happened to it down the road.”
Harris was charged by the Asheboro Police Department with felony first-degree kidnapping, felony larceny of a motor vehicle and felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
He was also charged by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office with felony flee/elude arrest with a motor vehicle, felony assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, felony larceny and felony possession of stolen goods/property.
Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Lorie Johnson at (336) 626-1300.