North Lauderdale’s Alex Exantus would just be another 17-year-old charged with grand theft auto — or maybe a 17-year-old who got away with grand theft auto — if not for the 9-month-old baby in the back seat of the car Exantus is accused of stealing on Tuesday.
The baby girl elevated the episode above a mundane car theft and earned it screen time from the TV choppers, which helped catch Exantus, according to Margate police. She also added burglary of an occupied conveyance to Exantus’ charges. False imprisonment of a child charges are pending.
Whether or not mother Elizabeth Marchand will be charged also hasn’t been decided, Sgt. Lori Eller said. Marchand left her 2016 BMW X1 running with daughter in the back seat while she entered the post office at 5094 Coconut Creek Parkway.
When she left the post office around 5:10 p.m., Marchand saw the car and baby being driven away.
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About 45 minutes later, two 911 calls led police to an apartment complex near McNab Road and Florida’s Turnpike. They found car and baby, the latter uninjured, as television news helicopters hovered
“The rapid media coverage of the event led to the identification of key witnesses that assisted investigators in identifying the subject as Alex Exantus of North Lauderdale,” Eller said in a statement.