E-mails that circulated wildly around Little Rock today were correct: A Beebe five-year-old was abducted briefly today when a thief stole a parked, running SUV in which she was sitting. The child was released shortly afterwards unharmed. A suspect is in custody.
Police said they believed the thief was not aware the child was in the car when he took it. At the time, she was in a child safety seat in the backseat, behind the driver's seat.
It's the latest in a string of incidents of running cars stolen with children inside. One such incident, at a Little Rock daycare, resulted in the temporary removal of a child from its foster home. The foster mother had left the child in a running car when she dashed in the door of the daycare to pick up another child.
NEWS RELEASE FROM BEEBE POLICE
Beebe Police Chief Wayne Ballew reported that at 7:10 a.m., January 8th, 2010, Brandon Gregory, 28, of Beebe parked his 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe in a parking space at a convience store located at the intersection of Dewitt Henry Drive and North Main Street in Beebe.
Mr. Gregory entered the store to purchase breakfast for his 5 year old daughter who he left in the parked and running vehicle. At that time a subject later identified as Michael Lee Rettig, 27, of Beebe, entered the vehicle and drove from the convenience store at a high rate of speed with the child still in the vehicle. Officers of the Beebe Police Department, Arkansas State Police and White County Sheriff's Office immediately responded to the incident. I
nformation gathered led to the arrest of Retting from a mobile home in Floyd (White County) at approximately 1:19 p.m.. The arrest was made without incident according to the Chief. In addition, the stolen Tahoe was recovered from a wooded area where it had been abandoned off of Peanut Ridge Road at 2:03 p.m..
Rettig was charged with Kidnapping and Felony Theft. Rettig was processed at the Beebe Police Department and then transported to the White County Detention Center in lieu of a $150,000.00 bond.
The Chief said, "The child was left at the driveway of a residence a few miles north of Beebe with no apparent injuries fifteen minutes after the incident started. We are so greatful to get the little girl back with her father and mother so soon."