Long Beach police arrest suspect in theft of car with boy inside, triggering Amber Alert

David González Image
Thursday, February 15, 2024
Long Beach police arrest suspect in car theft that set off Amber Alert
Calling it the worst mistake of his life, the boy's father says he got out of the car briefly to make a food delivery with his son in the backseat when someone stole the vehicle.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Investigators have arrested a man suspected of stealing a car with a young boy inside, triggering an Amber Alert and a frantic search Tuesday for the child in Long Beach.

After the boy and the stolen car were found abandoned in Long Beach, investigators say they were able to use security video to track the man who ditched the vehicle and trace his path from the scene.

They found a suspect near Pine Avenue and Shoreline Drive and arrested him.

He was identified as Timothy Jaymes Wood, 34, who is believed to be homeless.

Wood was booked for kidnapping, child endangerment and stealing a vehicle. His bail was set at $100,000.

With an hour of an Amber Alert being issued, a child who was abducted in Long Beach was found safe, authorities said.

In the meantime, the boy's father tells Eyewitness News he is overwhelmed with emotion after making what he calls the worst mistake of his life.

Kim Chan, who did not want to go on camera, said his son, Justin, was strapped to his car seat in the backseat of his Honda Accord when it was stolen.

Chan said he had just gotten out of the car to make a food delivery near 1st Street and Linden Avenue in Long Beach when someone jumped in and took off.

He said it all took place in less than a minute.

Through tears Chan told us his son has autism and he feared Justin would not be able to communicate or ask for help.

California Highway Patrol issued the Amber Alert at the request of Long Beach Police around 7 p.m.

"The criteria of issuing an Amber Alert, first it has to be a confirmation that an abduction has occurred," CHP Officer Chris Baldonado said. "It's not limited to just a stranger. It could be custodial, parent or guardian. Each situation is different."

Within the hour the car with Justin inside was found on Pine Avenue in Long Beach.

Father reunited with son after Amber Alert

A child, 4, was found safe in his parents' stolen car after his disappearance in Long Beach triggered an Amber Alert.

Two women from Orange County, Raegan Dunn and Yenny Lu, happened to be in the area and decided to take it upon themselves to look for the car when they got the Amber Alert.

Dunn said, "She was driving and I glanced over and I was like, 'Wait, I just saw a gray Honda Accord and I saw 8XP which was the license plate', so she turned around. We parked over there. I called 911. We ran across the street and the license plate matched up."

CHP said this is an example of how the Amber Alert is meant to work and urges people to pay attention to road signs or phone messages.

"We obviously want you to look at it because that message is going to be very direct," Baldonado said. "It's going to be very concise and straight and to the point. It can be either a description of the vehicle, description of the suspect or description of the person we're trying to locate."

Chan is traumatized about what could have happened to his son and hopes a situation like this one never happens to any other parent.

He said reuniting with his son was one of the most emotional things he's ever experienced and he's thankful he got him back safely.

Since starting the program in 2002, CHP has issued 320 Amber Alerts and successfully recovered 370 children.