A 20-year-old Clarksville man is in police custody after he stole a car Monday night with a seven-year-old child in the backseat.
Clarksville police told Nashville's News 2 Sharonda Belvin stopped at the Dollar General store on Madison Street around 7:30 p.m. to pickup some medicine and left her son in the backseat of her Chrysler 300.
Belvin told police she thought she locked the vehicle, which she left running.
When she returned 10 to 15 minutes later, the car was gone and her son was missing.
“I instantly called 911,” Belvin said. “Then I just started screaming and crying and yelling for help, asking people to help me.”
A short time later, another woman found the car and Belvin's son in the parking lot of a nearby Walmart store.
The Good Samaritan took Cornelius into WalMart and called police.
“He was in line, actually,” said Belvin about when police found her son, “They [Good Samaritans] bought him this Transformer toy, two sodas, airheads, lolly pops and Uno cards. He was just in line, like 'hey'.”
Belvin told Nashville's News 2 it was the scariest hour of her life.
“I never thought I was going to see him again. I honestly thought I had lost my child,” she said. “All I could do was cry and thank God, because it could've been way worse. The way he was headed, he could've hit the highway and I could've never seen my child again. “I'm so happy, I just thank God. I'm so happy, because it could've been way worse.”
The child told officers he had been dropped off by the suspect and gave police a description of the alleged kidnapper.
Police found Willie Cole, who matched the suspect description, at a nearby K-Mart.
Officials found the keys to the stolen car in Cole's pants pocket.
According to police, Cole said he saw the car running and took it because he needed bail money for previous charges.
Cole was charged with theft of property and kidnapping and booked into the Montgomery County. He is being held without bond.
Cole had been on probation until 2018 for previous charges including theft, evading and vehicle burglary.
The child was safely returned to his mother.
Police are working to determine if charges will be filed against Belvin.
- Dec. 3, 2012: Clarksville police say robbery was set up
- June 27, 2012: Clarksville teen arrested for vehicle theft for 2nd time
- Jan. 19, 2012: Man finds his stolen property for sale on Craigslist