JASON RANTZ

Homeless suspect arrested after allegedly stealing van with kids inside

May 17, 2023, 6:15 PM | Updated: May 18, 2023, 1:35 pm

homeless stealing van...

Cosmopolis Police Chief Heath Layman chases a suspect in a kidnapping case on Monday in South Aberdeen. The children were safely returned. (Photo courtesy of Hoquiam Police Department)

(Photo courtesy of Hoquiam Police Department)

A man was arrested in Hoquiam after stealing a van with two children aboard Monday morning, according to Hoquiam Police.

“About a little bit before 8:45 in the morning, a mom was dropping some paperwork off to a friend, and parked the car in the friend’s backyard, essentially off the alley,” Hoquiam Police Lieutenant Jeff Salstrom told Jason Rantz on KTTH 770 AM. “It was supposed to be a hot day and the kids were sleeping, so she left the car running with the air conditioning on, and ran in to take the paperwork in to their friend. And while she was in there, a 34-year-old transient from the area happening to be going down the alley saw the car running. It was unlocked, he jumped in, and drove off with the kids inside.”

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Anthony Dennis Hurley, 34, was booked into Grays Harbor County Jail on charges of second-degree kidnapping and theft of a motor vehicle.

According to Salstrom, the homeless man admitted he knew their kids in the car when he attempted to steal the vehicle. He even asked for their names.

“I got on the radio and requested every unit in the county be advised,” Salstrom said. “While we’re checking the area, a lot of times when somebody steals a car with kids inside, they’ll realize that they’re kids and they’ll park it somewhere and get out and take off, so that was our first thought, to check the immediate area.

“Two gentlemen who were on the south side of Aberdeen coming back from one of the scrap yards dropping stuff off,” Salstrom continued. “The passenger was scrolling through Facebook while they were driving and he saw the notification of the car’s description. And as they’re going past the convenience store, they looked up and there was a van matching the description of the car. They pulled into the parking lot, looked in the window of the van, and saw their two little girls in there. So they immediately call 911 and stayed there to watch the van.”

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The two kids, ages 1 and 6, were spotted approximately 10 minutes after the initial 911 call was received. The suspect fled the scene once Cosmopolis Police Chief Heath Layman arrived on the scene. Hurley eventually surrendered without the use of force.

“I don’t want to pontificate too much about the motive,” Salstrom added. “I think the person does have some mental health and some drug abuse issues. Oftentimes, there are not a lot of consequences for them due to their mental health disorders in this case. I believe because he did show he knew right from wrong, he will be held accountable. It’ll be a long process, but he’ll remain in custody and hopefully go to trial.”

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