Phoenix man arrested for stealing truck with child inside at gas station
PHOENIX — A Phoenix man is in custody after stealing a truck with a 4-year-old child inside from a Cottonwood gas station, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release Thursday.
Miguel Antonio Ochoa, 25, admitted to stealing the vehicle, saying he was trying to return to Phoenix after being stranded by his girlfriend.
Deputies say the owner of the stolen vehicle parked at a gas pump at Quick Country Store on Western Drive just off Highway 260 Wednesday around 7:30 a.m., and left his child in the car with the engine running while he went inside the store to pay.
When the child’s father looked outside for the pump number, he noticed his truck and child were nowhere to be seen.
The vehicle was found not long after in the middle of Highway 260 and Out of Africa Parkway still running with the child inside unharmed.
A witness at the gas station reported seeing a male in pajama pants in the area, but did not see anyone take the truck.
Another witness told deputies they saw the suspect exit the truck and walk across the highway into the desert.
Deputies began to search the surrounding area. Eventually one of them spotted a silver Dodge pickup truck heading toward Cottonwood with two men inside.
Deputies pulled over the truck and found Ochoa sitting in the passenger seat wearing pajama bottoms, a blue sports coat and no shirt.
The driver of the truck said he didn’t know Ochoa. He told authorities Ochoa approached him for a ride.
Ochoa admitted to the theft and told YCSO that once he noticed the child in the vehicle with him, he stopped and fled.
Ochoa was booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including vehicle theft, kidnapping, endangerment and possession of a controlled substance.