NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Two Northeast Florida law enforcement agencies are investigating unrelated cases involving cars that were stolen — with children still inside.
In both cases, the children are said to be doing OK.
One case happened Monday on Jacksonville’s Southside. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is still looking for the man who stole that car.
Another was reported Saturday in Nassau County. That’s where deputies say Ivan Fox got into another man’s truck that was left running at a Marathon gas station in Hilliard.
We’re told two children, ages 4 and 11, were in the truck.
According to an arrest report, the suspect let the two children out at a pharmacy next to the gas station.
“That little girl was so brave,” said K-9 deputy Beth Smith. “She demanded that he let them out and demanded that she get her brother out.”
Deputies say the man drove the truck into Georgia. He was intercepted by Charlton County Sheriff’s Office deputies, then chased back into Florida.
Nassau County deputies used stop sticks to try and slow him down.
About two miles from the gas station where he stole the truck, deputies said, he drove into a ditch, then ran.
That’s where K-9 Rouge came in.
“We scented her up, she took off, went to the trailer that he ran through, went through the back door, got another good whiff of his scent and took us straight off into the path where he ran,” said Smith.
Smith says the man took his shirt off and kept running, and that they were in water up to their knees, while Rouge was swimming and tracking through water.
Deputies said Rouge caught him, and the suspect was arrested and charged with carjacking.
Smith is thankful that the children were freed and proud of the young girl.
“Honestly, aside from everything, she is the hero in this story. She has so much bravery just going and getting the kid out,” Smith said.
K-9 Rouge was happy to meet the children she closed the case for.
Smith said no one goes into a gas station and expects their car to be stolen. But she says the young girl’s parents teaching her what to do in this case scenario really made a difference.