Search underway for man who kidnapped Valrico baby in car theft

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County deputies are searching for the man who stole a family’s SUV with a toddler inside. The baby and SUV were found a short-time later after an Amber Alert was issued. Now the attention is on the thief and kidnapper.

The family says they are very grateful to have their baby back in their arms. Meanwhile, the Hillsborough County Sheriff says they’re going after the suspect with the same intensity used in the search for that baby girl.

“Don’t let me find you,” said Jonathan West, father to little Tinnley.

The grateful dad puts out a warning to the suspect on the run.

Video from a neighbor’s security camera shows the suspect deputies are looking for. They say the man was walking a neighborhood in Valrico asking for a ride. Deputies say a mother and grandmother were unloading groceries at home with their Volkswagen SUV still running in the driveway while their one-year-old slept in her car seat.

In less than a minute away from their car that suspect jumped in the vehicle and took off. The parents and family spent Tuesday afternoon terrified they would never see their daughter again.

An Amber Alert was issued and law enforcement and the community came together to search for the Tinnley. Thankfully, she was found inside the family car at St. Andrews Methodist Church, three miles away from her Valrico home.

“I can’t thank you enough. I can’t thank them enough. They worked really fast and were super awesome and helpful and just all around great so we’re really thankful that she’s home,” said Chelsea, Tinnley’s mom.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff says he’s grateful the suspect did the right thing and returned the child unharmed, but it’s time to do one more good deed and turn himself in.

“As you’ve seen the great work by our deputies in recovering this baby and this car, they’re going to be just as diligent to track you down and make sure that’s you’re put behind bars and that you answer for the trauma that you caused this young family,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister.

The family is also thanking the community who supported them during their ordeal yesterday.

Now deputies are asking for the community to help them find the suspect who stole the car and kidnapped the baby.

Anyone with information related to this case is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200. 

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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