MESA, AZ — A 24-year-old man was arrested Thursday after he allegedly stole a vehicle with a 2-year-old child in the backseat at a QuikTrip near Broadway Road and Stapley Drive last week.
Mesa police said officers responded to the store on Friday, March 5 just before 6 p.m. for reports of a stolen vehicle.
Authorities said the vehicle, a dark blue BMW 328I, had been parked outside of the store and was still running with a 2-year-old in the back seat. The boy's mother told police she had left her son inside the car because he was asleep and she did not want to wake him. She had also left her cell phone inside the car which later authorities were able to track.
Surveillance video of the QuikTrip was used to get a description of a suspect.
Authorities were able to track down the cell phone to a 99 Cents store near Gilbert Road and Southern Avenue where officers found the phone in a backpack, along with other property of the mother's.
After reviewing the store's surveillance video, police said the man who left the backpack was the same man from the QuikTrip surveillance video.
Officers also discovered the suspect had changed clothing at the 99 Cents store after his original clothing was found inside the bathroom and throughout the store.
Just before 7 p.m., officers found the BMW abandoned in a neighborhood near the QuikTrip. The child was found inside the vehicle unharmed.
Authorities were eventually able to identify the suspect as 24-year-old Rodrigo Garcia with facial recognition and fingerprints.
On Thursday, an employee from the 99 Cents store contacted police saying that Garcia was in the store asking about his backpack.
Officers responded and Garcia was taken into custody.
According to police, Garcia admitted to taking the vehicle and said that when he saw the 2-year-old in the backseat, he abandoned the car in a neighborhood.
Garcia was booked into jail for multiple felony charges that include kidnapping and vehicle burglary.