Good Samaritan Tracks Down Man Who Stole Car with Toddler Inside, Holds Him Until Police Arrive


A couple in Portland, Oregon, experienced a parent’s worst nightmare on Friday morning when a man jumped into their running car and took off — with their 3-year-old inside.

It was around 8:00 a.m. near Northeast 16th Avenue near Shaver Street when the thief saw his opportunity and nabbed the car.

The father of the child immediately got into his car and pursued the thief, pulling off a maneuver and bringing the car to a halt about a mile from where they started.

T.P. Brown Jr., a local who spotted the chase, was impressed by the move even before he realized what was going on.

“I hear a Prius screaming down the side of me,” Brown told KPTV. “Had the lights flashing, honking the horn, almost as if a cop would do when he’s trying to get through an intersection.

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“Sitting in my car, I was able to witness the Prius make contact with the other car in almost a pit maneuver. I was kind of taken aback like, ‘Oh wow! This is, this is happening.’

“At that point, the gentleman dropped out of the car, jumped into the other car through the passenger side door and began to wrestle or tussle with the driver.”

According to a news release from the Portland Police Bureau, the thief got free and ran off, and the father told people nearby what had happened. Thankfully, the 3-year-old was unharmed.

Several bystanders jumped in to chase down the suspect, including Brown — but Brown had the advantage of a Dodge Charger and a familiarity with the area.

“I saw him crossing the street, coming down towards here,” Brown said. “I know this was a dead end … The only option was either to climb the fence or go through the fence. So I immediately floored it, pinned him against the fence. I asked him, you know, not to move until the police came here and got here.

“At that point, he wanted to continue to climb the fence. I stepped out of my vehicle, grabbed him off the fence and began to detain him until police got here.”

Other do-gooders, including an Amazon driver with some rope, helped Brown detain the man until police arrived. The suspect was eventually taken to the hospital for injuries sustained during the struggle.

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“This afternoon, Justin E. Hill, 40, was released from the hospital and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Kidnapping in the Second Degree, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle and Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (property damage),” an update from the Portland Police Bureau read.

Brown was happy he was able to help and shared that he’d asked for an opportunity to help others — and God delivered.

“My prayer this morning was for God to show up for me and put me in an impactful position to help other people,” he told WSVN.

Brown, a father himself, was especially moved by the family’s plight and hopes to meet them in the future, if they’re up for it.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking