WATCH: A one-year-old girl was in a vehicle when it was stolen in northwest Edmonton. Vinesh Pratap has more on the dramatic recovery.
EDMONTON – Charges were laid Thursday after a vehicle with a one-year-old inside it was stolen in northwest Edmonton on Wednesday.
Edmonton police were already in the area investigating a report of a stolen cube van at a casino when calls came in just before 10 a.m. about a stolen Audi A3 two blocks away.
Police arrived on scene at 122 Avenue and 154 Street and began interviewing the woman who the car belonged to. She reportedly went into a business briefly and allegedly left her car unlocked and running, with the keys in the ignition – and her baby girl in a car seat inside – when it was stolen.
As they were speaking to the woman, she saw her vehicle drive by and alerted police.
“When the vehicle was seen by police, the subject parked the vehicle immediately and ran on foot,” said Sgt. Gary Willits. The man ran to a nearby industrial yard in the area of 120 Avenue and 154 Street. He was caught by a police dog and suffered minor injuries and was treated by EMS.
“We had just seen the guy running around the corner, get tackled by the rear-end of that truck right there and then canine was right there, they grabbed him and held him on the ground,” said Miguel Tobar, who works in the area.
The baby girl was found unharmed.
The entire incident took place over about 15 minutes.
31-year-old Collin Munro was arrested and charged with theft of motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, obstruction and breach of conditions. He also had an outstanding warrant for being unlawfully at large.
Police don’t believe he knew there was a baby inside the vehicle. The car theft is believed to be a random crime of opportunity.
The EPS Child At Risk Response Team (CARRT) is following up with the mother. Just after 1 p.m., police dropped off the woman and child back at the vehicle. She was still visibly shaken by the ordeal, and politely declined a request by Global News to speak.
Police said no charges will be laid against the 36-year-old woman.
“You can imagine the extreme stress she’s going through and the anguish,” said Willits.
“It was just a quick decision… A momentary lapse of judgement.”
“Her intention was only to be there for a few minutes,” said Willits. “She was right next to the vehicle with her child inside. It should be noted this child is usually in daycare. She chose to take the child out of daycare because the child was sick.”
Police said the woman was 10 feet away from her child and vehicle.
“At one point though, she was called further into the business to complete some paperwork so for two minutes she was out of sight of the car.”
While no charges will be laid against the woman, police are following up with Family Services.
“We look at all the factors involved,” he explained. “After reviewing that and consulting with our partners in Children Services, we try to determine the best level of intervention. Sometimes that does require a charge. In this incident, upon reviewing all the factors involved and interviewing the family, we’ve come to appreciate it’s best not to compound things with a charge.”