Scottie Allen Johnson (Clanton Police Department)
A suspect is in custody after police say he stole a car with a baby inside.
The incident happened late Friday morning outside of the Dollar Tree in Clanton. Authorities believe the mother had left the keys inside her vehicle and the suspect jumped in and drove off, not realizing there was an infant on board.
Clanton Police Chief Keith Maddox said the suspect drove about 200 yards before realizing he wasn’t alone in the stolen car. He abandoned the vehicle at Walmart in Clanton and told an employee somebody had left a baby in a car before he fled from the scene.
The ordeal began at 11:15 a.m. when Chilton E911 received a call from a female stating that someone had stolen her vehicle with her infant still in the vehicle. The caller reported that she was in the Dollar Tree store at the time of the theft.
While officers were responding to the area, another 911 call was received from an associate at Walmart stating that a white male – now identified as Scottie Allen Johnson – had exited a vehicle, near the associate parking area, and had told her that there was a baby in the car as he briskly walked away.
Responding officers diverted to Walmart and found the vehicle with the child inside and safe. A perimeter was set and area schools and assisted living facilities were placed in lockdown for safety.
Employees at Walmart were able to obtain video of Johnson entering the woods near the southwest corner of the building. Clanton police officers set a perimeter around the wooded area and K9 officers responded. The department’s K9 officers were conducting training at the time of the call.
K9 trainer Kevin Davis responded to the scene to help track down the suspect. Tracking dogs Max and Scout were deployed in the area of woods where the suspect entered and began to track. During the track, multiple shoe impressions were spotted by officers. Scout recovered a pair of pants that were discarded by the suspect just prior to exiting the wooded area onto a nearby roadway, police said.
Once the track was completed, officers made contact with Johnson who was walking in a nearby neighborhood but didn’t initially think he was the suspect because of the change of clothes. After the discarded pants were found and Scout tracked up to where the suspect had been seen, detectives went to Johnson’s home to follow up and carried out a search warrant.
Shoes were found that were wet and the patterns matched the tracks found by officers in the woods. The shoes recovered were Air Jordan shoes and had left a distinctive image of Michael Jordan in the mud.
Johnson was taken into custody and booked into the Chilton County Jail. Maddox said he will be charged with theft of a vehicle. Investigators will consult with county prosecutors on additional charges.