MENIFEE: Child left inside vehicle at convenience store victim of carjacking and kidnapping
MENIFEE – A truck left with an 8-year-old child inside was stolen from a Circle K parking lot in Menifee, leading to an overwhelming and fast response to the incident, which occurred on Friday, Jan. 8. The child was found safe a short time after the theft and kidnapping and the suspect was later captured, according to officials from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
The terrifying incident unfolded just before 2:00 p.m., at the convenience store parking lot, which is located in the 28000 block of Goetz Road in the city of Menifee, sheriff’s Sgt. Sam Morovich said.
Deputies from the Menifee Police Station and Special Enforcement Team deputies responded to the reported carjacking and kidnapping.
Deputies arrived in the area within minutes and learned the child had already returned to the Circle K after the suspect let the child out near an open field on Avenida Roble, not far from where the original incident occurred.
According to Morovich, the unidentified woman explained to responding deputies her 8-year-old child was inside her truck when it was stolen by an adult male as she exited the truck.
The woman attempted to open the driver’s side door in an attempt to stop the suspect, and she reportedly pleaded with the suspect not to take her truck because her child was inside. The suspect refused to stop and drove away at a high rate of speed, causing the victim to knocked down in the parking lot.
Several witnesses led deputies to the stolen truck, which had been abandoned near the intersection of Paseo Vivora and Avenida Gaviota. A perimeter was established and the suspect, identified as 58-year-old Pedro Peralez of Quail Valley, was located hiding at a nearby residence.
When he saw the deputies approaching, Peralez attempted to flee from the area, but he was quickly apprehended by deputies without further incident.
Peralez was later booked at the Southwest Detention Center for carjacking and kidnapping. His bail has been set at $60,000.
According to sheriff’s officials. this was the second kidnapping and carjacking involving a child left inside a vehicle within the past three days.
On Thursday, Jan. 7, a man stole a Honda Odyssey from a recycling center in Montebello. That vehicle had an infant boy, identified as Caleb Castro, inside it when it was taken.
In that case, like this one, the parent was outside the vehicle at the time it was stolen.
In that case, the infant was found safe inside the abandoned vehicle a few hours later. The suspect in that incident was described as a Hispanic male, about 30 years old with spiked hair. He remains unidentified and at large.
Anyone with information related to the Menifee kidnapping and carjacking is encouraged to contact Deputy Pulido at the Menifee Police Station at (951) 210-1000. Callers can refer to incident file number ME160080034 and all tips can be made anonymously.
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