When this car thief discovered he wasn't alone, he flagged down police, Utah cops say

Francisco Esmerado
Francisco Esmerado Salt Lake County Jail

A Salt Lake City man got more than he bargained for Monday when he made off with someone else’s car from a motel parking lot, police say.

Francisco Esmerado, 23, stole a car outside a motel near the Salt Lake City airport at 3:42 a.m. Monday after the driver went inside to register, police told KSTU.

Then Esmerado realized he wasn’t alone, police told the station. The driver had left her 12-year-old son in the back seat while she checked into their room.

“We believe he was just trying to steal the vehicle and didn’t know the kid was in there,” Sgt. Brandon Shearer told The Salt Lake City Tribune.

Esmerado pulled onto Interstate 80, but a short time later flagged down an officer to surrender and return the 12-year-old, police told KSL-TV. The boy, who was unharmed, was reunited with his mother.

Esmerado told the officer he was “trying to get away,” but didn’t specify from who or what, police told the station.

He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree felony kidnapping, second-degree felony theft of a motor vehicle and a third-degree probation violation, reported The Salt Lake City Tribune.

Shearer told the publication that, while charges are not final, Esmerado could still ultimately be charged with kidnapping even if he didn't know a child was inside the vehicle.

Sometimes plans don't quite work out as intended. Take a look at some would-be criminals who could have used a practice run or two.