Amber Alert canceled: Drake Whitker, 5, of Park Ridge found in Skokie

Drake Whitker, 5, was in the back of his mother's Audi when a man stole it from their Park Ridge driveway.
February 20, 2014 8:30:23 PM PST
An Amber Alert was canceled after Drake Whitker, 5, was found safe in Skokie. He was in was in the back of his mother's Audi when a man stole it from their Park Ridge driveway.

Drake has been reunited with his family. Police are searching for the offender.

Police say Drake was sitting in a child seat in the back of his mother's Audi Q5, the engine still running as the mom carried packages into the home, when a young man jumped into the vehicle.

"She tried to, as I understand, tried to actually get to the car and pound on it to try to prevent, try to stop him from going, but he took off," said Kaminski.

Skokie police said a resident who heard about the Amber Alert saw an Audi Q5 that matched the description in an alley near Oakton and Laramie and called officials around 2:15 p.m. Thursday. They found Drake inside the vehicle. He was unharmed.

"Drake was in great spirits. He wasn't very scared. He's a very positive, happy young boy. He wasn't harmed at all. He didn't really put the whole gravity of the situation together, so he's good," said Tony Riley, boy's stepfather.

The ordeal lasted about two hours.

"We're grateful that the child is recovered, safe and is with his mother as we speak," said Chief Frank Kaminski, Park Ridge Police Department. "We put them in touch with each other with cell phones. They began talking with each other and they started talking about what is dinner for tonight, and which movies they would watch, and the child seemed to be in good spirits."

Drake's mother told police she was unloading packages from the vehicle and taking them into the house when she witnessed the carjacking. That prompted an Amber Alert, issued at 12:20 p.m.

"It was awesome how quickly the Amber Alert got out there, if it wasn't for the cohesive effort of the police departments, and you all included, it wouldn't have happened so quickly. I mean he's back home within two hours, and that's great," said Riley.

Police have only a vague description of the suspect, but are now combing the stolen vehicle for fingerprints and evidence.

"I would suggest that the person turn themselves in to either the Park Ridge or Skokie Police Department because we will find you," said Kaminski.

The alley where Drake and the stolen vehicle were found is about six miles from where he was taken. Police say it's unclear if the offender knew the boy was in the vehicle when he took off.

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