Carjackers abandon vehicle after noticing toddler in backseat, Kentucky cops say


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A Kentucky man and woman are accused of stealing a car from a Kroger parking lot, then abandoning it when they discovered a toddler was in the backseat, Louisville police say.

The incident happened Monday night around 9:45 p.m. at a Kroger grocery store in Louisville’s south end, according to police. A woman told police her 2006 Hyundai Tucson had been stolen with her 2-year-old child inside, an arrest citation states.

The car was later found abandoned in a parking lot about 3 miles away from the Kroger, police say. It’s unclear the condition of the child.

The victim gave descriptions of the suspects, and police found one of them, 45-year-old Penny Alexander, according to a citation. Alexander initially told officers she did not know the identity of the other suspect and only knew of him from the neighborhood, police said.

A K-9 tracked the scent of the other suspect, 35-year-old John Williams, to a nearby home, a citation states. Williams was found in a back bedroom, according to police.

Williams told officers “he took the vehicle because he needed a ride,” a citation states. He said he ditched the vehicle when he noticed the child inside of it, police said.

The victim’s wallet and ID were found inside a jacket at the home, according to police.

When police found Williams, he was in the process of “attempting to change his appearance” in an effort to not be caught, according to a citation.

Alexander later said she knew Williams and had been talking to him “about getting a ride” before they stole the vehicle, police said. Stolen property was found in her purse, according to police.

Alexander was charged with complicity to kidnapping a minor, complicity to automobile theft, complicity to wanton endangerment and complicity to tampering with physical evidence, court records show.

Williams, charged with kidnapping a minor, automobile theft, wanton endangerment and tampering with physical evidence, “created a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury for the child when he fled,” a citation states.

The two are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning, court records show.

Mike Stunson covers real-time news for McClatchy. He is a 2011 Western Kentucky University graduate who has previously worked at the Paducah Sun and Madisonville Messenger as a sports reporter and the Lexington Herald-Leader as a breaking news reporter.
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