Baby inside as thief steals, crashes vehicle, officials say
Police said a man stole a vehicle from a Beloit gas station Friday and crashed it into a building minutes later all while an infant was still inside.
Beloit police said officers responded to a report of a theft of a vehicle at a gas station on the 2700 block of Milwaukee Road at 5:53 p.m. According to the report, an 8-year-old child escaped the vehicle when it was stolen, but a 10-month-old baby was still inside.
At 6 p.m., Beloit officers and Rock County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a vehicle crash on the 2700 block of County Road S in the town of Turtle. The stolen vehicle was found crashed into a machine shed behind a home.
Gary Sminchak, the owner of the crashed shed, said he was able navigate the rubble and rescue the baby from the car.
“My neighbor and I stopped the driver from leaving,” said Sminchak. “And I went down there and opened the front door and looked around and saw nothing. As I was leaving I heard the baby whimper in the back.”
Sminchak said he usually stores his trailer and propane tanks in the shed and that if the car had also crashed into those, it could have exploded.
“I went to the back door and unstrapped her and said we got to get out of here because of all the chemicals I had in there that were spilled all over and I was afraid the place was going to blow up,” said Sminchak.
The baby suffered minor abrasions and was taken to Beloit Memorial Hospital by Beloit Fire Paramedics. After treatment the baby was released, police said.
Jose A. Gomez-Perez, 22, of Milton, was taken into custody at the scene, police said. He was taken to Beloit Memorial Hospital, treated and released. He was then taken to the city of Beloit Police Department.
Beloit police said Gomez-Perez is also a suspect in an auto theft in Milton an auto theft in the City of Beloit.
Detectives from Beloit PD are continuing the investigation.