Police capture man accused of stealing car with 1-year-old child inside from Chalmette gas station

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 7:43 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:20 PM CDT

CHALMETTE, La. (WVUE) - Police arrested 21-year-old Johnathon Perkins, who they say stole a vehicle from a Chalmette gas station with a young child inside.

He was apprehended Thurs., June 30 around 4:30 p.m. near Avon Park Boulevard and Morrison Road in New Orleans East by St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office and Louisiana State Police.

The incident happened just after 11 a.m. on Wed., June 29. Surveillance video from the gas station shows Perkins suspiciously walking through the store and the parking lot.

At the same time, a mother from Mississippi pulled up to pump number two with her child in the backseat.

“I think he just waited for a crime of opportunity,” Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann says.

“She’s got her one-year-old that was sleeping in the car. She didn’t want to wake her child. Went in, paid for the fuel, pumped it,” Pohlmann says.

When the woman went back into the store to get her change, Perkins saw his opportunity.;

The store’s surveillance video shows Perkins checking his surroundings and slowly walking up to her vehicle, jumping in, and taking off with the little boy in the backseat.

The 1-year-old little boy was later found on the side of the road on the Almonaster Overpass. He’s since been reunited with his mother and is in good condition.

A man who Fox 8 will not identify was driving down Almonaster across the overpass when he saw what he first thought was just an object on the side road.

“I thought it was a baby doll or toy or something at first and when I passed he kind of looked at me,” the man says. “I’m like what, that’s a baby. I pulled over and looked around and said ‘is there anybody else around that sees this?’ And there was nobody.”

A 1-year-old boy was sleeping in the back seat of his mother's car when it was stolen from a...
A 1-year-old boy was sleeping in the back seat of his mother's car when it was stolen from a gas station in Chalmette. He was later dumped on the side of the road.(WVUE)

“He kind of started coming my way a little bit. He wasn’t afraid of me or anything so I got close enough,” the man says.

As he dialed 911, he says a St. Bernard Parish deputy pulled up and picked up the little boy from off the ground.

Pohlmann says the woman’s car was found abandoned on France Road near the Desire neighborhood. The search for Perkins continues.

Deputies have obtained an arrest warrant for Perkins for theft of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, and aggravated kidnapping of a juvenile.

Perkins was last seen wearing a black shirt, an orange reflective construction vest, a gold chain, and earrings.

A New Orleans man is wanted for stealing a vehicle with a young child inside from the parking...
A New Orleans man is wanted for stealing a vehicle with a young child inside from the parking lot of a Chalmette business(St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Office)

Anyone with new information pertaining to this incident is asked to contact St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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