Suspect Arrested For Stealing Car With Toddler

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JEFFERSON, COUNTY (KTVI) - Police have taken Ryan Beckler, 21 into custody in connection with stolen car with a toddler in the baby seat.  

At around 7:47pm on Wednesday police say they saw a car matching the description of the stolen car traveling North on Highway 141 near Fieldler Lane in Fenton.  The deputy made a felony traffic stop.  The suspect resisted arrest and attempted to flee the scene.  After a brief foot persuit Ryan Beckler was taken into custody.

A car matching the description of the 1997 black Jeep Cherokee was stolen from the Phillips 66 on Old Highway 21 near Imperial, MO on Wednesday.   Destiny Schenk went into the convience store and left her 19 month old daughter strapped in the child's seat.  When she returned the car and her daughter were gone.

The toddler was found about a half mile away in a drive way.  A deer hunter reports seeing the suspect removing the child from the car and driving away.

"My opinion he didn't know the baby was in the back. He just took off," recalled Marvin Schmidt of rural Fenton.  Schmidt had just left the woods on his family's farm and was walking toward the front of his brother's house when a car abruptly stopped , blocking the driveway.

"I was in full hunting gear and had my thirty odd six ( rifle)  with me.  He pulled in fast. We watch for anybody; we've had a lot of burglaries out there," Schmidt said.  "I asked him what are you doing and he said 'Oh I saw this baby in the middle of the road and I picked it up and I got to go places; I got to be somewhere'."

Schmidt told him he'd call 9-1-1 and instructed the young man to wait.  But he took off after leaving the baby in her car seat on the driveway.

Schmidt and his brother live about a mile and a half from the Imperial gas station where the Jeep Cherokee had been stolen.  "I got the license number for the police," Schmidt said.

He and his family were relieved the baby had not been left unnoticed in the cold and dark.  "My brother always backs into his driveway.  He told  me he could not have lived with himself if he had accidentally driven over the child," Schmidt noted.

Beckler has been charged with Stealing a motor vehicle, kidnapping, facilitating a felony and endangering welfare of child.  He remains in the Jefferson County Jail with no bond.

Previous story:  Toddler Rescued After Car Was Stolen

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