Thief steals car occupied by 2-year-old in San Pablo, child found safe

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Oakland woman suspected of stealing car containing child in San Pablo
Photo courtesy of the San Pablo Police Department.

An Oakland woman is suspected of stealing a car occupied by a 2-year-old child in San Pablo Monday afternoon. Thankfully, the child was found unharmed after the suspect abandoned the vehicle shortly after the theft, police said.

The incident unfolded around 1:25 p.m., when officers responded to the 1300 block of California Avenue on a report of a vehicle theft, according to the San Pablo Police Department. The victim informed police that her child was inside the vehicle.

Nearby surveillance video captured footage of a female suspect taking the victim’s vehicle. Officers flooded surrounding neighborhoods within 20 minutes and located the stolen vehicle — and the unharmed child — near Barrett Avenue and Hayes Street. The child was then reunited with her mother.

The suspect did not flee empty handed — she grabbed the victim’s cellphone, which officers used to learn she was in the Oakland area. Police subsequently found her along with two other individuals entering a white 2016 Hyundai Tucson in the 2900 block of Martin Luther King Avenue.

Officers attempted a traffic stop, but the vehicle fled, leading officers on a short pursuit before the suspects fled on foot in the 1400 block of E 1st St. Officers detained the driver but the two other individuals got away. Officers learned the Hyundai was reported stolen out of Hayward on March 3.

The suspect detained by officers was identified as the person who stole the vehicle with the child inside in San Pablo, based upon the surveillance footage, police said. The suspect,  identified as Joy Taueetia, 35, of Oakland, was booked at Contra Costa County Jail on charges of vehicle theft and kidnapping.

“Investigators are still determining if any other suspects were involved in this crime,” police said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call SPPD Detectives at (510) 215-3150.