Police Tuesday found a stolen Infiniti containing an 11-month-old boy still strapped into his car seat, but the woman who took the sedan remained at large.
The car was taken about 10 a.m. from the 15400 block of Gault Street, near Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys, in what the Los Angeles Police Department initially believed to be a carjacking.
Authorities began a massive search, releasing the baby’s picture and describing the sedan as a white 2001 Infiniti G-20, license number 4SDK433.
About noon, an “alert citizen” spotted the car abandoned near where it had been stolen, and the child, whose name is Leo, was safe in the vehicle, said LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza.
Paramedics examined the child as a precaution, but he appeared to be OK, police said.
Police said the boy’s mother had gone to a babysitter’s residence to pick up another one of her children, and had left the car unattended with the engine running and Leo inside.
The suspect, identified as known gang member Maria Elizabeth De La Torre, confessed over the phone to taking the vehicle and said she would turn herself in, but did not.
De La Torre is known in the area and apparently stole the car in a “crime of opportunity” and may not have realized the boy was inside, police said.
The boy’s mother said she does not know the suspect.
De La Torre, whose image was released by police after she failed to turn herself in, likely will face charges of grand theft auto and kidnapping, a detective said.