Public’s assistance needed after technology helps police find stolen car with baby inside

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LENEXA, Kan. -- For the second time in two weeks, a car was stolen with a baby inside. This time, it was a five-month-old who was found in the car, still sleeping when the car was recovered.

The car was stolen from a Bank of America in Lenexa, while the mother and her boyfriend were standing behind it.

Police say the mother, her boyfriend and their friend were at the bank meeting someone who was selling a car to the friend when a stranger jumped in the car and took off.

Lenexa Police Officer Dan Friesen says leads in this case are slim, and that they are relying on the public's help to find the man who stole that car with the baby inside.

"This is a crime that was committed against a child, and so we feel like it's something people would want to get involved with, said Ofc. Friesen.

The need for the public’s help is heightened because the things police would normally do to find their suspect are not panning out. For instance, surveillance video from the bank and the convenience store at 75th and Wornall where the car and baby were found isn’t helpful.

"Unfortunately, the angle where this happened wasn't captured very well with the cameras. All they could see was the passenger side of the car," Ofc. Friesen explained.

Although video has been a failure identifying the suspect, it was technology that saved the day.

"The mother of the child left her phone inside the car and it was turned on," Ofc. Friesen said.

Which he said allowed police to track the car by tracking the phone.

"That technology is very helpful to us and is made possible by the Kelsey Smith Law," he said.

The Kelsey Smith act was enacted after 18-year-old Smith was abducted from a Target parking lot at 97th and Quivira on June 2, 2007. It took the cell phone provider four days to turn over the tracking information to police. Forty-five minutes later, her body was found in the woods near Longview Lake, found because of her cell phone.

“Kelsey’s Law” allows law enforcement immediate access to cell phone tracking information to respond to an emergency.

"We couldn't use that legally if let’s say the car was stolen, and there wasn't a child inside. It has to be a life-threatening emergency and certainly a child being kidnapped, even though the person may not have realized there was a child inside, it is still a kidnapping and could be a very dangerous situation," Ofc. Friesen said.

He says police are relying on the public's help to catch a kidnapper and keep the community safe.

"We think when people who commit these types of crimes would do this once, they might do it again," Ofc. Friesen said.

Police have also picked up some prints from the car and are hoping to generate a lead from that analysis, which FOX 4 is told will take at least a few days.