GULFPORT, Fla. (WFLA) — A Gulfport man was arrested Wednesday after police said he stole a car with sleeping kids inside.
On Aug. 28, investigators said David Elam, 18, got into the driver’s side of a 2020 Ford Explorer while it was unlocked and the ignition was on. The SUV was parked in the driveway of a home on 54th Street South.
Police said Elam put the SUV in reverse and began driving eastbound on 17th Avenue South.
Investigators said the owner of the SUV was in Massachusetts at the time, but his wife had possession of the vehicle. She was inside the home putting things away while her two daughters were asleep in the car, according to a report.
While Elam was driving, investigators said he realized the two girls were in the back seat.
Police said Elam stopped the SUV at least three times and threatened the girls to get out.
At one point, police said Elam continued driving with the rear door open. The girls told police that Elam slammed on the brakes multiple times while the door was open.
When the girls were exiting the car, a report said one of them got their leg stuck in a seatbelt.
Officers said Elam grabbed the girl’s left knee to get her out of the car. The girl did not suffer any injuries.
The girls were later able to identify Elam from a photo pack.
On Wednesday, police said Elam got into an argument with a man and the man’s father at a home on 17th Avenue South.
Police said Elam was holding a wooden steak knife and told the man that he would “poke” him with the knife.
The man said he was in fear and called the police. The man was holding his 5-month-old son during the argument, police said.
Due to the two separate crimes, police said Elam is facing charges of aggravated assault, grand theft, child abuse and two kidnapping charges.