CPD and DA's office determining if charges are applicable for dad after kidnapping

Chattanooga Police issued a citywide BOLO after they say someone stole this truck with a child inside. (Image: WTVC)

A car theft turned into an unintentional kidnapping Sunday. Chattanooga Police say a person stole a truck with a child inside from the Circle K gas station on East Brainerd Road. Police found the three-year-old boy and the truck 30 minutes later but they have not found the suspect as of Monday.

Officers say the little boy's father left him sleeping in the truck while he went inside to pay for gas. He looked over and told officers he saw someone steal the truck.

"When they were in the vehicle, they noticed that a child was inside so they tried to find a quick spot to dump the vehicle," said Sgt. Victor Miller with the Chattanooga Police Department.

Miller says Hamilton County EMS checked out the boy, and found he was unharmed.

"I'm sure the child was scared," said Genesis Morales, who gassed up at the Circle K Monday. "He didn't know what was going on. And these strangers. Having been left abandoned - I'm sure that's traumatizing."

As a mother to a five-year-old, Morales feels for the boy's parents.

"First of all I can't even image the desperation of the parents," said Morales. "We're living in difficult times."

In Tennessee, it's illegal to leave children unattended in a running car. The misdemeanor could mean a $200 fine.

"I know sometimes it seems like oh, I'll be quick I'll be back in a minute," said Morales. "But its's better to be safe than sorry especially these days."

While some say they can sympathize with the boy's father - others have stronger feelings.

"When it comes to my children - there is no mistake," said Mohammed Bablu. "The responsibility lies on the parent. I would never leave my child unattended in the truck at the gas station - or anywhere for that matter."

Chattanooga Police say they'll work with the District Attorney's office to see if there are any charges applicable for the father. Tennessee state law also says a child under seven can't be left in a car unsupervised unless someone who is at least 13 is inside with them. It also says the keys can't be anywhere inside the car.

Police say the suspect took off on foot, and are looking into leads.

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