A little girl is back in the arms of her parents after a carjacker jumped into the van she was sleeping in and took off.
It turned out the child's parents left her in the back seat of the van Tuesday morning with the keys still in the ignition after stopping at a produce market in Miami. They walked away for a moment, but that was all a carjacker needed to make his move.
The girl screamed when she realized someone was driving the van, and it was not her father. The screams startled the robber who would abandon the vehicle with the child still inside.
Richard Rodriguez, the girl's father, said he immediately went looking for help when he noticed the van and his daughter gone. "When we were paying at the cashier, I didn't see the van, so of course it got me scared, so I alerted the people at the store," he said.
Rodriguez said he knew the store was equipped with surveillance cameras that must have recorded the incident. "We come here everyday. I know they have cameras, so as soon as I noticed, I let them know to check the cameras to see what happened," he said.
The surveillance footage showed the suspect at first walking by the van and heading up a loading ramp before turning around to get into the vehicle and drive away.
Javier Avila, an employee at the market, would end up finding the girl. He heard about the incident and jumped into action. "I just had a baby of my own, so I basically put myself in their shoes. I jumped on the forklift and just decided to look for her myself."
Avila would find her, but it was another thing to get her to come with him to her parents. "She would not open the door to me," Avila said. "She said she would not open the door until her father was there."
Avila would go back to the father, and the father would ride with Avila to the scene where he found the family's van with the little girl still locked inside. "Yeah, I'd never do that again," said the father. "Not even in a blink of an eye would I leave my daughter alone."
Police said the man may not have realized the little girl was inside the van, but either way he will face attempted kidnapping charges when caught.
Miami Police are looking for a man the girl described as standing 6 feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds. He is believed to have fled the area on foot wearing a black shirt and dark jeans.