Manassas Journal Messenger | Idling car taken with boy inside

A 41-year-old man stole an idling car at 6:30 a.m. Monday, after a 4-year-old boy?s mother left him inside, a Prince William police spokeswoman said.

The suspect fled onto Interstate 66 before being captured just over half an hour later by Fairfax County police.

Clayton Browning Tyler III, of 77 Hornet Street in Warrenton, jumped into a running car in which a woman left her 4-year-old son while she went into a Manassas area 7-Eleven, said 1st Sgt. Kim Chinn, Prince William police spokeswoman. The 7-Eleven is in Manaport Plaza in the Irongate area off Sudley Road near Manassas Mall. Irongate is known as a crime-ridden area.

Police could not say why Tyler was in Manassas or how he got there. They would not say what they believe Tyler?s motive was.

He was charged with abduction and grand larceny auto after he was pulled over by Fairfax County police officers on I-66 heading east. Lookouts for the green Toyota Echo were sent out by Prince William police. A Fairfax officer monitoring traffic looking for the car spotted it and called for backup before stopping the Toyota. Tyler pulled over and was arrested without incident, Chinn said. He is being held at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail without bond.

Police were unsure of the mother?s age; she will not be charged. Officers will refer the case to the Prince William County Department of Social Services.

The 4-year-old boy was brought to the Fairfax County Police Department?s Fair Oaks station, said Officer Courtney Young. He was later reunited with his mother.

?This should serve as a reminder to us all not to leave our children unattended,? Chinn said.

Police also activated the Amber Alert system, which immediately informs broadcast media of a confirmed kidnapping. All available information about the kidnapper is released by authorities so people in the region can spot the vehicles or people in question. Authorities say the system — which was developed in memory of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman — spreads information to millions in the precious minutes after an abduction has taken place, increasing the likelihood that someone will spot the kidnapper.

Hagerman was a Texas girl who was kidnapped in 1996 while riding her bicycle. Her neighbor was able to provide a detailed description of the kidnapper?s car, but authorities were unable to spread the information to the public.

Hagerman?s body was found four days later.

A 16-year-old girl was accused by police May 6 of stealing an idling car with a toddler inside while the baby?s mother was shouting to people on the opposite side of U.S. 1.

The car flipped over at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Dale Boulevard, spewing debris all over the road. The then 20-month-old was treated for minor injuries.

The teen was charged with abduction and grand larceny. Virginia law prohibits police from releasing the names of juveniles charged with crimes.

Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065.

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