ST. CLOUD (AP) -- Police located a 9-month-old boy about two hours after he was reported missing when a van was he was riding in was stolen from a grocery story parking lot.
The incident prompted the state's first AMBER Alert, which notifies the public when a child is missing.
Police recovered the child, still inside the van, around 10:50 p.m. Wednesday after they apprehended two teen-age runaways from the St. Cloud Children's Home. The youths were suspected of stealing the van.
The infant, who was unharmed, was taken to St. Cloud Hospital as a precaution.
The van was left running outside the Cub grocery store at about 8:45 p.m. while the mother went into the Club Liquor store, which is next to the grocery store, Sgt. Mark Moline said.
When she returned, the van was missing. She ran back into the store immediately seeking help, said Rod Fandel, a clerk on duty at the time.
"She screamed, 'My baby's gone, my van's gone, call 911,"' he said, adding that police responded minutes after he called.
The teens, two boys, were seen at the store shortly before the van was stolen. They were eventually identified as runaways from the Children's Home who had telephoned a friend to say they had taken the van and that there was a child inside it, Moline said.
The infant was found on the south side of St. Cloud in the abandoned van. Authorities found the teens minutes earlier, Moline said. The boy had reportedly been left alone in an infant car seat under some blankets. The mother was taken to the police station by friends after police arrived at the scene of the theft.
AMBER, or America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, was unveiled last year by the Public Safety Department. Under the alert, radio and television stations interrupt programming with an emergency bulletin that includes information about the victim, kidnapper and any vehicles involved. It also includes a telephone number for people to call with tips.
It's one of 14 statewide systems and more than 30 regional systems nationwide. It wasn't immediately known whether the alert played a role in police recovering the child.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.