Happy Ending in Greenville Kidnapping

Update, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010: [Police believe they have identified the kidnapper/auto thief as 38-year-old Ronald Jermaine Epps. Warrants have been issued for his arrest. More information available here.]

But only because the kidnapper was of the accidental variety, as in he was looking to boost a car and happened to pick one with a sort of anti-lagniappe inside. From WYFF:

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The person who stole a truck from a Greenville County convenience store got quite a surprise after he took off: a 10 month old baby was inside.

Deputies said the initial call came in as a stolen truck and kidnapping at about 1:45 a.m. Monday.

It all started when a grandmother was taking her 10-month-old granddaughter for a car ride to get her to sleep, deputies said. The grandmother stopped to get coffee at a Spinx Burger King located at 1520 S. Pleasantburg Drive, and left the truck running with the baby inside, they said.

While she was inside the store, investigators said someone got in her truck and drove off.

Deputies think the thief didn’t know the baby was in the truck because they said a short time later the driver stopped at a random house on Piedmont Highway. The thief told the people who lived there that he was with the sheriff’s department, and left the baby with them, investigators said.

The baby was unharmed and was reunited with her family.

Fox Carolina is reporting that though gentle with the baby the suspect is most definitely hard on cars, since he’s going through them so quickly:

While deputies were talking to the grandmother, a parent of the child arrived at the store and gave deputies the child’s personal information. As they were talking, investigators learned that the child had been dropped off at 428 Piedmont Highway.

The two people at the Piedmont residence said a man had come to the door with the girl in the car seat and told them he was with the sheriff’s department and handed them the baby. He then fled again in the stolen vehicle.

EMS crews went to the residence and said the child was in good health and unharmed and the girl was returned to her parents.

The stolen pickup was recovered later Monday morning in a wooded area near a residence on Englewood Drive.

The resident, Virgie Ashmore, called the Sheriff’s Office at 7:37 a.m. Monday to report that someone had left the stolen Nissan truck in the woods near his house and then stolen his burgundy 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass from his driveway. The car has the tag CDG-163. The vehicle also has a “Buckle up with Jesus” tag on the front.

Ashmore believes there were several people in the truck when it was abandoned but he did not see who stole his car.

Investigators believe that the man who stole the pickup is the same man who stole Ashmore’s car.

Investigators described the man as black, wearing jeans, a gray hooded sweatshirt and a dark brown jacket.

Anyone who has information in connection with these cases is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 23-CRIME.

If you were one of the millions of people taking up survivalism you would call this whole incident a failure of OpSec, or operational security. These days you have to lock your car even if you’re just running into a store for a minute. Most importantly, you have to keep children with you at all times, at least within arm’s reach. This time it was pure luck that the “kidnapper” was just some joyrider (although many armed robbers use stolen vehicles as getaway cars) with enough conscience to make sure the baby lived through his crime.

The next time who knows?


One Response to “Happy Ending in Greenville Kidnapping”

  1. Ronald Epps Wanted for Greenville Kidnapping & Auto Theft : Greenville Dragnet on January 12th, 2010 11:57 pm

    [...] The child was recovered unharmed, but deputies are still searching for Epps, who they identified based on surveillance footage and witness statements.  He faces kidnapping and grand larceny charges, according to warrants.  Please call Crime Stoppers at 23-CRIME if you have any information. [...]

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