A man has been arrested in relation to the theft of a car that had two children inside, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office stated.
The two children, ages 1 and 5, and the car were discovered about 1.5 miles from where the car was stolen Monday, the sheriff’s office stated. The children were inside and unharmed. The man, identified as 33-year-old Charles Hall, of Live Oak, was arrested several hours later.
The incident took place around 5:40 p.m. at Knutz Auto and Truck repair shop on Industrial Avenue located in Rocklin.
Scott Dwillis, the shop owner, informed that he captured most of the carjacking on his surveillance system.
“My heart fell out of my chest,” Dwillis stated.
Dwillis stated that he and his staff had left the shop about 10 minutes prior to the carjacking. The customer visited the shop and got out of his car to drop off some material through the night drop slot.
Dwillis stated the video revealed the customer turn around and see Hall out of the corner of his eye. A customer ran toward the car to beat on the window, but Hall backed up and took off with the children inside the car.
“You put yourself in that position, like, ‘Oh my gosh, that could have been anybody,’” Dwillis stated. “But to be somebody that comes here and is one of my consumers and everything, we want them to feel safe when they come to this place. We don’t want anybody to feel that they shouldn’t be safe dropping something off.”
The car and the children were found under 20 minutes by Lincoln police officers near Athens Boulevard and Industrial Avenue, across the street from Thunder Valley Casino. The sheriff’s office stated the children have since been reunited with their father.
Hall abandoned the vehicle and ran onto the casino grounds, officials stated.
Law enforcement officers and casino security investigated the suspect for several hours. He was arrested by 9 p.m., the sheriff’s office stated. Investigators are not investigating any other suspects.
According to the sheriff’s office, Hall had been released from the South Placer Jail previously that day through a pretrial court release. He is now dealing with charges of kidnapping, carjacking and committing a felony while out on bail.
Meanwhile, Dwillis stated he prepares to ramp up security at his auto shop. He said he currently takes security seriously by checking that all vehicles are locked at night, setting up a camera system and lighting in the parking lot. Now, he prepares to install a better surveillance system and brighter lighting. He hopes for more patrols in the area in the future. He stated he spoke with his client on Monday night and is grateful his family is safe.
“He’s doing really good,” Dwillis stated. “Thank God for that. So, praise Jesus that his family is OK and they’re back home safely.”
Police is currently investigating this issue.