ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A woman has her car stolen and inside, her two small children. One witness described her emotions as pure panic.
Billie Lattanza says her weekend yard sale got off to a horrific start.
“It was awful,” she said. “It was not just crying, it was hysteria.”
A woman came to look around Saturday and in a matter of seconds, a man jumped in her car and took off.
Lattanza thought it was possibly the woman’s husband, but that quickly changed.
“The woman went in the streets, stopping the cars and was just screaming and flailing,” Lattanza said. “It was horrible.”
Bernalillo County deputies say inside that car were two young children, a 3-year-old and a 5-month old.
“She would fall to the ground, dig in the dirt and scream,” Lattanza said. “She was hysterical.”
Deputies say Roy Molina was behind the wheel. He wouldn’t get too far.
For some reason, he pulled over at a shopping complex just up the street near Sunset and Five Points, roughly a quarter mile from where he stole the vehicle.
Deputies say he then walked away up Five Points road, leaving the two kids in the car with the windows rolled up.
“The police came and he walked to the car and he opened the door and he picked up the little girl,” said one store owner who asked to remain anonymous.
That witness says the two frightened kids were crying when deputies found them.
Lattanza says when the kids were taken, they were both asleep. She said the mother was keeping an eye on her car, but it all happened so fast.
“There was no comforting a mother that’s just lost her children that she doesn’t know where they are,” Lattanza said.
Molina was arrested just blocks away from where Lattanza was having her yard sale.
“I don’t want to have any more garage sales like that ever again,” Lattanza said.
Molina is behind bars on a $100,000 cash or surety bond. He’s facing charges of motor vehicle theft, kidnapping and child abuse.
According to the criminal complaint, Molina didn’t say if he knew the kids were in the car or why he decided to park just down the street.