A 3-year-old child was unharmed in a frightening case involving kidnapping and the theft of a vehicle.
According to a criminal complaint, 28-year-old Miguel Tomas Rea of St. Paul stole a car with a 3-year-old child sitting in the back seat.
It happened Aug. 3 around 9:40 p.m. when the child's grandmother left the car – a red Pontiac Grand Prix – running at a gas pump and went inside the Holiday gas station at 200 Wabasha Street South in St. Paul.
The grandmother called 911 and while crying and shaking explained to St. Paul police that her car and grandchild had been stolen, with witnesses last seeing it driving westbound on Plato Boulevard.
Fortunately, the Pontiac was found three blocks away at the intersection of Ohio and Robie streets, having been abandoned with the child still inside the running vehicle.
Officers asked the 3 year old where the driver of the car went, and the child pointed to an apartment complex across the street.
Surveillance footage from multiple Holiday gas stations revealed that the suspect was wearing a white t-shirt with dark shorts and bright yellow underwear. He arrived at the Holiday in a black Honda, went inside, came back outside and stole the woman's Pontiac.
Officers used clear images from surveillance footage showing the suspect's neck and facial tattoos, which included two Latin King gang crowns.
Rea was not immediately tracked down and arrested, but he was detained following a high-speed chase involving the Minnesota State Patrol on Aug. 20 along I-35E, I-694 and Hwy. 61 before he crashed in White Bear Lake.
Rea and his girlfriend fled on foot only to be found hiding in grass and bushes.
He's been charged with felony kidnapping and felony theft of a motor vehicle. If convicted, the kidnapping charge carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
Rea has three prior felony convictions for fleeing police in a motor vehicle, in addition to felony convictions for aggravated robbery and theft.