Child kidnapped in Cleveland carjacking, police body camera shows

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 8:02 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Several hundred car thefts happen in Cleveland every year.

19 Investigates is taking you inside how dangerous these crimes can be.

A child was caught in the middle of a violent car theft this past summer.

Public records from the city show how everything unfolded.

That day, 911 calls started pouring into the dispatch center.

“There was a little girl, I guess someone stole her mom’s car and they threw her out in the middle of the street,” one caller said.

It was a carjacking and a kidnapping.

The victim’s frantic mom called 911 too.

“Somebody just stole my car with my child in it,” she said.

“Where you at?” the dispatcher replied.

“I’m on 93rd and Quebec,” she said.

It all happened quickly on the east side of Cleveland, one day back in August.

The mom said she left her 11-year-old daughter in the backseat of the car with it running while she checked on an apartment for a job she had.

A minute later, her daughter called her, terrified, saying someone stole the car and she was still in it.

During the 911 call, the mother was suddenly reunited with her daughter.

You can hear her relief on the call.

It took 19 Investigates months to get police body camera video of the incident.

It shows Cleveland Police officers arriving on scene shortly after the mother is reunited with her child.

She said she was okay and headed inside her home.

Officers got more details from her mom, including the car’s license plate, to track the suspect down.

She said the suspect drove to E. 89th St. and Quincy Ave. with her daughter and left her there.

Police checked out that area and wound up at a house, where they find that blue Hyundai Tucson parked in a driveway.

More evidence led officers downtown, where they found the suspect in another car.

Reginald Wimberly Jr. was later charged with two felonies, grand theft and abduction.

Some car thefts endanger more than just property.

This case is just one of several thousand car thefts that happen in the city each year.

Car thefts are up more than 20 percent year-to-date compared to last year, according to the latest city statistics.

There have been nearly 4,000 car thefts in Cleveland so far this year.