A car thief is behind bars today (Sunday) after police said he stole a car with two kids in the backseat but later helped call the family to return them.
22-year-old Brian Keith Allen Jr. of Covered Bridge Road in Clayton is charged with motor vehicle theft and two counts of second-degree kidnapping.
Around 11:15 Saturday night, Clayton Police say a suspect stole a car which had been left running at the gas pumps of the Handee Hugo’s convenience store on Pritchard Road. The suspect later told officers he was just trying to get to Dunn and had no idea there were children in the car.
When the children, ages 7 and 3, started screaming as the car pulled away, the suspect stopped and asked the children if they could call someone they knew. Their mother had left her phone in the car so the 7-year-old was able to call an uncle. The suspect helped the children give the address where they could be found. The uncle immediately called 911.
Both Clayton Police and Johnston County Sheriff’s deputies rushed to the location on Covered Bridge Road. They recovered the children unharmed and arrested the suspect.
Allen is being held on a $150,000 secured bond.
Clayton Police say this incident should serve as a warning and reminder to parents: Never leave your children unattended in public, especially inside an unlocked car. This family was in a well-lit gas station in a popular shopping area just outside the Riverwood Athletic Club, but criminals will take advantage of an easy opportunity no matter the location.