FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — Deputies in Flagler County rescued a 5-year-old girl after a car she was in was stolen from a gas station parking lot.
The incident occurred Wednesday night at a Circle K gas station on Palm Coast Parkway, officials said.
Deputies said Andrew Allen drove off with the child in the back seat of a white Dodge Journey that he had taken after an argument and physical altercation with the driver and mother of the girl.
The girl’s mother, who is also a childhood friend of Allen, told deputies that she exited the vehicle when Allen went inside the gas station, and when Allen came out of the gas station, he jumped in the driver’s seat and locked the vehicle with the child still inside, according to a report.
Deputies said the mother asked Allen to unlock the vehicle repeatedly. He refused and drove to the other side of the gas station parking lot, where he stopped and allowed the woman to grab her purse and belongings, before shoving her to the ground.
Allen then jumped back in the vehicle and fled onto Belle Terre Parkway with the child still in the back seat, officials said.
Deputies found the vehicle at US-1 and Commerce Boulevard and stopped Allen. The girl was uninjured.
“This was great work by our deputies who acted quickly to recover the child and vehicle safely,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “A situation like this is very time-sensitive and required great teamwork to make sure no one was hurt. Of all the bad decisions Allen made at least he made one good choice and did not try to flee.”
Allen was arrested and charged with kidnapping, grand theft of a motor vehicle and simple battery.