Published January 14, 2015
Authorities investigating the weekend abduction of a 3-year-old from his family home in San Bernardino released a photo Thursday of two suspects and pleaded for the child's safe return.
The blurry image was taken from surveillance camera footage recorded at a home-improvement store two days before Sunday's abduction of Briant Rodriguez, authorities said.
The men bought tape that was used to tie up Rodriguez and other members of his family, San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops said at a news conference.
The suspects drove away from the store in a dark green Ford Bronco, also captured on video.
A surveillance camera outside a different store captured the same vehicle leaving the boy's neighborhood about 3 minutes before the boy's mother Maria Rosalina Millan called police to report the abduction, Hoops said.
"We urge persons who have Briant to drop him off at a hospital, a school, a police department, a sheriff's station or a fire station," Hoops said.
He declined to comment on a possible motive, citing the ongoing investigation.
Sheriff's investigators said they have received numerous tips since called police to say the men had burst into the family's home, tied up Millan and five of her children and stole money and other property.
About 20 minutes later, the men left with Briant Rodriguez, the youngest child, after ordering Millan and the other children not to call police, officials said.
Millan has pleaded for her son's safe return.
Hoops asked for anyone who sees the vehicle captured by the surveillance camera to attempt to record its license plate number.
The FBI and the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department also said each agency was offering a $25,000 reward for information meeting specific criteria in the case that leads to the boy's recovery.
Investigators said they were looking at several theories, including that the Spanish-speaking kidnappers were from Mexico and may have had ties to organized crime there. No ransom has been demanded.
Border authorities have been put on alert.
The family lives in a modest, single-story home in a lower-income area abutting the city of San Bernardino, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
The boy's father was at work at the time and the initial investigation pointed to the kidnappers being strangers to the family, authorities said.