LARGO, Fla. (FOX 13) - We are learning more about the terrifying ordeal a family from South Carolina went through Monday morning in Pinellas County. Their pick-up truck was stolen from a Largo Wawa with their 7-year-old old still inside.
Witnesses and the boy's grandmother frantically told 911 dispatchers what they saw.
“My son and daughter-in-law went into the store, my grandson stayed in the truck and somebody just pulled off with his truck,” the grandmother told a dispatcher.
Largo police say the boy’s dad and grandpa drove after the thief. At the same time, mom made a desperate attempt to chase the truck on foot.
“There was a young lady screaming and crying, and we all ran over, 'What’s going on?'" a caller to 911 said. "Somebody stole her baby out of her car.”
Police raced to the scene, dispatching a BOLO for the pick-up truck and the 7-year-old.
Four miles away, Daniel Ryan was working at the front desk at TownPlace Suites when a small child walked in.
“A little boy comes walking in, comes up to the desk and is asking for his mother, is his mother here?” Ryan, the hotel's general manager said.
The suspect had dropped the little boy off in the parking lot.
Ryan said he thought the boy's family was staying at TownPlace, but he couldn’t find them in the system as guests. Ryan said it was clear the child didn’t know the man who brought him there.
“It was maybe five minutes after he came in that we kinda put enough pieces together to find out something was strange, something wasn’t right,” he said.
Officers got there quickly to reunite the little boy with his parents.
Investigators say the child’s smartwatch, packed in the truck, helped them track the suspect to an apartment complex in Tampa.
Adam Vachon was arrested and charged with felony kidnapping and felony grand theft of a motor vehicle.
Witnesses say they’re grateful Vachon was more interested in the pick-up than the 7-year-old sitting in the back.
“Really sweet little boy, he was obviously shaken up. He cried a few times while he was here, but was really strong, really brave,” Ryan said. “I can’t even imagine what him and his parents went through with this situation. It’s just unbelievable.”