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New Orleans: Brazen car thief steals vehicle while 11-year-old is in its back seat

3 years 2 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, March 03 2020 Mar 3, 2020 March 03, 2020 8:29 AM March 03, 2020 in News
Source: WWL-TV

NEW ORLEANS - On Sunday night in Gentilly, a woman and her 11-year-old daughter were dropping off a relative when the woman suddenly saw a thief drive away with her car, while her 11-year-old was still inside of the vehicle. 

WWL-TV reports that the mother, Jessica Mistretta, was beside herself with shock.

She told reporters, "I couldn’t believe that this was happening. My daughter is gone in a car riding up the street right in front of my face.”

Mistretta explained she'd been driving a rental car, and was accompanied by her daughter, while dropping her grandmother off near the 3300 block of St. Anthony. 

She said she temporarily stepped out of the car to bring in some groceries and when she started back towards the vehicle, she saw someone open its driver's side door, jump behind the wheel, and drive away with her daughter still inside.

Frantic, Mistretta ran after the car, desperately hoping to get her daughter back. 

“I couldn’t get to her," Mistretta said. "I tried to run after her, I tried to get in another car to get her. I tried everything I could do.”

Meanwhile, the 11-year-old remained calm and managed to come up with a pragmatic solution.

She called the police from the back seat of the vehicle, and thanks to her quick thinking, authorities were able to catch up with the stolen vehicle near the 2600 block of Eads Street. It was there that the thief ditched the vehicle and its 11-year-old passenger.  

After the thief fled, the girl tracked down a neighbor, and was soon reunited with her mother. 

Relieved, Mistretta said she gave her daughter an enormous hug. 

“I got to her and that was it. Hugged her and never let her go,” Mistretta said. “And thank God she’s back here with me because I thought I’d never see her again.”

Police say the car thief remains at large and anyone with information is urged to contact Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.  

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