Truck stolen from Nederland Raceway with baby inside

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, February 8, 2018

NEDERLAND — A woman staying in Groves who sought a middle-of-the-night snack had her truck stolen with her baby inside at Raceway in Nederland on Thursday.

The truck and baby were found minutes later unharmed and police were seeking tips on the crime.

Nederland Police Chief Darrell Bush said officers have looked at surveillance video, which was to be downloaded for police sometime Thursday.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The victim, a 24-year-old woman from Bridge City, told police she had been staying with a friend in Groves and awoke at 1 a.m. and fed the baby, then left the Groves home and drove to Raceway at 3220 FM 365 in Nederland to get something to eat, Bush said.

Police responded to the vehicle theft at about 3:31 a.m. in response to a white 1999 Chevrolet pickup truck that had left the store westbound on FM 365 with a 6-month-old baby inside.

The victim told police that while at Raceway she also put gas in vehicle, then pulled up to the front entrance of the store, left the truck running and went inside to pay for her gas.

She said she noticed a white Honda or Toyota car parked near her truck with two men in the vehicle and that she believed the driver to be Hispanic and the passenger appeared to be Asian.

She told police that while she was in the store she heard the engine on the truck rev up and she saw the truck leaving the parking lot; the white passenger car was still in the parking lot, but only the driver was left in the vehicle.

“She stated she started screaming for help and stated that her baby was in the truck,” Bush said. “She stated at that time the driver of the car responded, “Oh there is a baby in the car?”  She then stated the white vehicle then left at a high rate of speed chasing the truck.

Officers immediately responded and within minutes located the stolen vehicle abandoned in the parking lot at Plaza Shopping Center at FM 365 and U.S. 69. The infant was in the back seat of the truck, secured in a child safety seat. Emergency medical personnel checked on the child, who was unharmed, and released him back to his mother.

The truck theft came about seven months after a Nederland woman launched a petition hoping to get the gas station/convenience store to get rid of panhandlers and what she and others allege to be criminal activity.

The homeowner, Gena Dale, told the Port Arthur News in late July that she has had some scary and intrusive experiences outside the store. She also said she has told store employees about the incidents on a number of occasions with mixed reactions.

A store manager said then he advises customers and employees to work as a team and report suspicious behavior.

Between Jan. 1, 2016 and July 18, 2017 there had been 84 calls for service at the business and about 54 of them were for either a disturbance call or a suspicious subject/unwanted person call.

Anyone with any information about the truck theft is asked to contact Nederland Police at 409 722-4965 or Crimestoppers at 409 833-TIPS.