BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (WLS) -- A Lyons man faces aggravated kidnapping and theft charges after police say he stole a vehicle earlier this week in southwest suburban Bridgeview, with a 4-year-old boy inside.
Rudy Gutierrez, 28, was identified as a suspect in the incident and taken into custody early Tuesday, Bridgeview police said. He was later charged with aggravated kidnapping, vehicular invasion, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and unlawful use of a credit card.
Illinois State Police issued an Amber Alert Monday for the boy after the vehicle he was in was stolen from a 7-Eleven gas station near 79th and Roberts Road around 5:35 p.m. Witnesses helped police identify Gutierrez, who prosecutors said was often seen hanging around the area panhandling.
When a car is stolen with a child inside, Bridgeview police said that normally, the vehicle is quickly abandoned. That didn't happen here.
Instead, video showed the vehicle headed east on 79th Street from the 7-Eleven, and two hours later, headed north on Pulaski into the Irving Park neighborhood.
Prosecutors said in court that matched up with reports the defendant used a credit card from the glove box to buy items at a gas station located in the 3900-block of West Irving Park Park Road in Chicago.
The FBI and police across the region scrambled to find the boy as an Amber Alert went out. Four hours after the van was taken, a Chicago police officer saw the van with the boy inside.
"We are happy that Liam got home and safe and healthy," Bridgeview Police Cmdr. David Case said.
But the suspect was still at large. Investigators credited good policing by a Joliet cop working with the FBI - and luck.
"On his return coming back to the village, he happened to see this young man and recognize that he was wearing the same clothes as the guy we were looking for," Cmdr. Case said. "His being observant like that that is what good police work is all about and we were very fortunate that he was in the right place at the right time with the right knowledge and the right attitude."
Gutierrez's bond was set at $500,000. He is currently on parole for a retail theft and has seven bond forfeitures.
The family told ABC7 off-camera earlier Wednesday that they want the courts to show him mercy. Later, they rescinded that opinion.