A man drove away from a gas station with a car that didn’t belong to him — and a child sleeping inside.
Police sent out an Amber Alert after 3-year-old Lee Parrish was taken. The little boy was in the back of a Ford Fusion during a gas stop at a Fort Lauderdale-area Valero station.
About three hours after the alert, police found their suspect, and soon found the boy.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office took William Rogers into custody. Lee was unharmed.
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Deputies say they don’t know yet why Rogers drove off with the car and little Lee and then dropped him off at a home. They found Rogers in Tamarac, then Lee in Fort Lauderdale later Sunday morning.
By Sunday afternoon Rogers was back in Broward’s main jail on charges including grand theft auto, kidnapping dealing in stolen property and child neglect.
“Back” because Rogers had just been released from BSO custody on Friday. An arrest affidavit says he was behind the wheel of a stolen Chevrolet HHR on Oct. 25. He was charged with grand theft auto and driving without a license (it was suspended in September after he failed to pay an Aug. 19 speeding ticket). While in jail on those charges, he got hit with another grand theft auto charge. He posted bond for both cases on Friday.
On Saturday night, BSO says the 27-year-old Rogers had accompanied the boyfriend of Lee’s mother to a Valero gas station at 2400 W. Sunrise Blvd. When the boyfriend got out to pump gas, Rogers took off in the car south on Northwest 24th Avenue, according to BSO. Lee was sleeping in the back seat of the 2013 burgundy Ford Fusion.
After the Amber Alert was issued, deputies in the Tamarac area got a tip that the car was seen in the 5200 block of Gate Lake Road. They saw Rogers as they reached the area. He saw them, too, and tried to run.
Deputies say they caught the five-eight, 265-pound Rogers quickly, around 7:30 a.m.
BSO spokeswoman officer Keyla Concepcion says Rogers eventually told deputies that he dropped the child off at a Fort Lauderdale home. As of now, BSO says there doesn’t appear to be a relationship between the people at that address and Rogers.
Rogers’ address in his court file is the 2800 block of Washington Drive, a little more than half a mile from the Valero gas station.
Deputies were on their way to that address when they saw, in the 2900 block of 21st Court, a woman walking with Lee.
She said she had just seen the Amber Alert and was planning to report that she had found the child.