Authorities in Georgia say a stolen vehicle led to additional charges for a pair of teens when they discovered two children inside the SUV they took from a gas station earlier this week.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 17-year-old Khyree Swift and an unnamed 16-year-old suspect participated in a crime during which the two small children, a 1-month-old baby and 4-year-old girl, were dumped along a busy freeway in subfreezing temperatures Wednesday night.
Investigators believe a vehicle pulled into the parking lot of a Clayton County convenience store, at which time one occupant got out and stole a 2009 Chevrolet Equinox belonging to Precious Wilmer. The owner reportedly left her two small children inside the running vehicle as she shopped inside the QuikTrip.
With temperatures in the 20s, both girls were found — miles apart — in apparent good health. The younger sibling was found in the middle of a major thoroughfare, still strapped into her car seat.
Police arrested Swift Friday after they tracked electronic devices allegedly stolen from the SUV, which was found a short distance from his home in southwest Atlanta.
The younger suspect was arrested at another location in the city later that day.
According to Clayton County Police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury, investigators believe there were additional subjects involved in the crime.
A police warrant alleges the two teens were involved in a criminal conspiracy with a third individual with the intent to steal the vehicle.
Both suspects arrested face charges of theft of a motor vehicle and theft by receiving stolen property. Additional charges of kidnapping and cruelty to children are expected in connection to their alleged abandonment of the two girls.
In an initial statement, police said they did not yet know which suspect was the driver. As WSB reported, officials have not determined whether either teen arrested was ever actually inside of the stolen vehicle.
Swift reportedly told a judge that he did not understand the charges he faced. The 16-year-old suspect is expected to appear in court next week.
[Featured image: Khyree Swift/Clayton County Sheriff’s Office]