A Pennsylvania tattoo artist spotted a vehicle posted in an Amber Alert Thursday and took off after the car while on the phone with dispatchers.
Inside the stolen gold Chevrolet Suburban: two young boys, 3 and 1.
The saga began earlier in the day and 100 miles away in Ohio. A woman who was caring for the two boys in Zanesville said she stopped at a gas station and ran inside a neighboring dance studio for less than 10 minutes, leaving the SUV running with the boys inside, WPXI reported. The vehicle and the boys were gone when she came back out.
Three hours later, Dougie DeCosta was getting gas at a Circle K in Washington, Pennsylvania. The gold Suburban pulled into the gas station.
“As I was getting ready to leave, a vehicle pulls up, guy acting all suspicious and weird. He says, ‘Hey man, you got some change!?’ Acting all goofy. I was like, ‘Dude I can’t help you,’” DeCosta said.
That’s when the man said his kid was in the back teething.
And I said, ‘Oh god, this dude has a kid in that car.’ I was like, ‘That’s not good,’” DeCosta said.
He called 911. The dispatcher confirmed the vehicle was the one listed in the Amber Alert, but the suspect drove off.
“He took off out of there, and I took off after him,” DeCosta said.
At speeds topping 60 mph, DeCosta stayed on him, providing the dispatcher with locations. Finally, police caught up with them.
“They had him at gunpoint, pulled him out, and those babies got to go home last night,” DeCosta said.
Police named the suspect as 46-year-old Thomas Pritchard and said he faces several charges in two states. Zanesville police have charged him with two counts of kidnapping and one count of grand theft auto. In Pennsylvania, he’s charged with driving under the influence, endangering children, reckless endangerment, and receiving stolen property, WCMH reported. And because he crossed state lines, he may be facing federal charges as well.
DeCosta said the boys’ mother contacted him on Friday, and it made him cry.
“I think it was meant to be. I’m so glad those babies are alright,” he said.
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