WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Update: The Wichita Police Department confirmed it arrested a man suspected of stealing a car with two small children inside from a south Wichita QuikTrip. Police identified that man as 30-year-old Tyler Kirkhart, of Wichita. Arresting charges include two counts of kidnapping, two counts of child endangerment, two counts of interference with parental custody and deprivation of property stemming from an auto theft investigation.
Police said this started a little before 4 p.m. when officers responded to an abduction call in the 1000 block of West 31st Street South, at the QuikTrip near 31st Street South and Seneca. Police said officers arrived at the scene and learned Kirkhart stole a white 2015 Chevy Cruze from a 26-year-old woman. The woman had her 3-year-old daughter and infant son in car seats when Kirkhart stole the car, police said.
The investigation revealed the woman was attempting to add air to her car’s tires when Kirkhat offered to help.
“He then got into the vehicle and left the area southbound. Officers from all over the city began looking for the vehicle. A short time later officers located the vehicle abandoned in the 3500 block of South St. Francis. The children were located inside the vehicle and unharmed,” the WPD said.
The WPD said officers were able to identify Kirkhart and found him in the 700 block of West Lockwood. Police will present the case to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office which will determine formal charges.
Update: The Wichita Police Department released surveillance footage of the man suspected of stealing a car with two children inside from a south Wichita QuikTrip. The search for the man, sporting a beard and seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and a blue cap, continues.
The Wichita Police Department is looking for a man suspected of stealing a car with children inside from a south Wichita QuikTrip. Police said the children, both younger than 4 years old, were found safe in the unattended 2015 Chevy Cruze in the 3500 block of South St. Francis.
Police said the man stole the car from QuikTrip at 31st Street South and Seneca after offering to help a woman with airing up tires.
“The guy comes over and offers to help her and then shows her how to take the cap off the tire. As soon as she started messing with the air, he goes around and gets in the car and locks the door so she can’t get in to get the kids,” witness Tyler Nathan Thompson said. “He drives off, she’s holding onto the car as best she can, just screaming. I ran over to her and called police.”
Thompson said it took seconds for the man to get into the car and lock it.
“It wasn’t, in my opinion, negligence on her part at all,” he said.
Police responded to the reported abduction a little before 4 p.m. Officers located the unattended vehicle with the children inside about 40 minutes later.
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