SUV stolen with small children inside in NW Wichita, 4 arrested

Wichita police arrested four teen suspects following a hectic situation that included a stolen SUV with the children inside.
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 8:37 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Two small children found in car seats on the side of a northwest Wichita road are safe and Wichita police arrested four teen suspects following a hectic situation that included a stolen SUV with the children inside.

The series of events that concluded with the arrests and safe reunion of the uninjured small children with their parents began a little after 5:15 p.m. Wednesday with a disturbance-with-a-weapon call, possibly related to a road-rage situation near 45th Street North and Hoover.

Wichita Police Lt. Matt Lang said police heard from Sedgwick County emergency dispatch that this involved a man with a gun, possibly holding someone at gunpoint. Officers learned the armed man was the owner of an SUV that was stolen. His children were inside that vehicle, parked outside his home when it was stolen.

Lang said when officers arrived at the scene of the disturbance-with-a-weapon call they contacted a man and a woman who reported their SUV was parked outside their home with their 3-year-old and 1-year-old children in the vehicle, sitting in their safety seats. Lang said the man and woman went inside for a brief moment and came out to discover the SUV was gone, as were both children.

Police found the stolen vehicle in the area where the initial call came out. Officers recovered the stolen vehicle and arrested the driver, but the children were still missing. Responding officers from the Wichita and Maize police departments learned the small children “were left somewhere” after the vehicle theft, Lang said.

Realizing their SUV was stolen, Lang said the man and woman began searching for the vehicle and their children. He said they soon came across the vehicle. This led to the brief moments in which the man held the stolen SUV’s driver at gunpoint until police arrived.

Seeing the heavy police response and soon learning the nature of the call, Lang said bystanders found the two small children, still fastened into their car seats on the side of the road, about two blocks from the home where the vehicle was stolen. Those children were reunited with their parents after being checked out by paramedics.

A couple who lives in the area found the 1-year-old and the 3-year-old. Speaking with Eyewitness News, the couple said they were leaving their home and happened to go down 53rd Street North when they looked across the field and saw a car seat, facedown and something moving. That’s when the couple found the small children in their seats. They said the children had to have been thrown from the SUV because they were covered in dirt and vomit and flipped upside down. The couple flagged down police.

Responding officers searched the area and found three additional suspects. Lang said all four arrested are younger than 18. He said main charges they could be looking at include auto theft and kidnapping.

Lang said the four teen suspects are accused of being involved in “numerous other crimes” in the area, but none as serious as what happened Wednesday evening.

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