Anthony Gracia

A 2-year-old boy who was sitting in the back seat of a vehicle that was stolen Monday afternoon was unharmed and reunited with his mother.

Tucson police arrested Anthony Gracia, 20, and he was booked into the Pima County jail on suspicion of kidnapping, child abuse, auto theft and burglary, said Sgt. Pete Dugan, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

On Dec. 18 shortly after 1:30 p.m., police received a 911 call from a woman who said her son was buckled in his car seat in her vehicle that she saw leaving her east-side apartment complex.

The woman said she placed her son in the car seat and was about to leave the complex when she remembered she left her laptop in the apartment. She got out of the vehicle, which she did not turn off, and ran into her apartment for the laptop and when she returned she saw her vehicle leaving, Dugan said.

The woman's apartment complex is at 1345 S. Kolb Road, south of East 22nd Street. Police scoured the area and an officer spotted the stolen vehicle eight minutes later on West 22nd Street at South Wilmot Road, said Dugan.

Officers pursued the vehicle and tried to pull it over, but the driver did not stop and police chased the vehicle before the driver stopped, got out and ran away, said Dugan. Officers went up to the vehicle to check on the toddler, but the boy was not in the vehicle.

Meanwhile, police received a report from another 911-caller saying a boy was wandering by himself near 22nd Street and the child was picked up by the caller before stepping into the road. Police responded and reunited the missing boy with his mother, said Dugan.  

Police saturated the neighborhood in search of the suspect who bailed from the car in the area of East 22nd and South Craycroft Road. Officers received a report from a 911-caller saying he spotted a man hiding on a roof of a house in the neighborhood. Police took custody of the suspect when he climbed down from the roof, said Dugan.

He said 911-callers working with police helped reunite the child unharmed with his mother, and helped officers catch the suspect.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar