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Phoenix PD: Man, woman arrested after stealing car with 2-year-old inside

Joe Velazquez.jpg
Posted at 11:33 AM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-12 14:37:55-04

PHOENIX — Police have arrested a man and woman after the pair stole a vehicle outside a Phoenix grocery store and fled with a 2-year-old girl inside the car.

Phoenix police Sgt. Armando Carbajal said officers responded to the Fry's parking lot near 43rd Avenue and McDowell Road around 3 p.m. Monday after reports of a kidnapping.

Investigators reportedly discovered that a 60-year-old man had stopped at the lot and gotten out of his vehicle, when he was approached by 25-year-old Cynthia Danielle Gracia asking for money. As the man was distracted talking to Gracia, 26-year-old Joe Velazquez got into the victim's driver's seat and drove away in the car with the victim's 2-year-old granddaughter inside.

Carbajal said witnesses followed the suspects a short distance away, where the pair abandoned the car in a neighborhood just north of the grocery store, and attempted to flee. The witnesses detained both Velazquez and Gracia until police arrived.

One witness who engaged in an altercation with Velazquez was reported cut during the fight.

The 2-year-old girl was found inside the car with no injuries.

Both Velazquez and Gracia were taken into custody and booked into jail.