PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Good Samaritans caught a car thief in Northeast Portland after the suspect drove off with a child inside the car Friday morning, Portland police said.
More than 30 police units responded to the scene at NE 16th Avenue just after 8 a.m., where a caller had reported that someone had jumped into her running car and drove away with her 3-year-old son, who was in the back seat.
According to officials, the child’s father chased the thief by getting into his car and following the stolen car.
The father then used his vehicle to crash into the stolen car near Northeast 21st Avenue and Northeast Multnomah Street, which resulted in the suspect getting out of the car and running away.
Police said the father told people passing by what happened, which resulted in others chasing after the suspect.
T.P. Brown, who helped the family, explained “all I heard was ‘tried to kidnap my daughter.’ Being a father and hearing that triggered something in me.”
Brown drove down the street, and spotted the man at Northeast 19th and Northeast Pacific.
At that moment, he said he was running on pure adrenaline, knowing he couldn’t let him get away.
“I floored it, pinned him against the fence, asked him not to move until the police got here. Other onlookers caught up to me, the Amazon driver had some rope, and we began to tie him up and detain him until the police got here,” Brown explained.
Brown said the cops caught up and took over and thanked him profusely.
“We’re in a situation right now where we don’t have the number of police to be at every crime so it is our responsibility to do what we can to keep our community safe,” Brown said.
He said he’s not a hero, but thanks God for putting him in the right place at the right time.
“My prayer this morning was for God to put me in an impactful position to help other people,” Brown said.
The suspect, Justin E. Hill, was arrested and was taken to a local hospital in police custody after being injured in the struggle. The 40-year-old was released from the hospital and taken to the Multnomah County Jail on Saturday. Hill faces charges of kidnapping, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and failing to perform the duties of a driver.
Police said the child was not hurt during the incident.
The investigation is ongoing.