WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police said a 31-year-old man was arrested after he stole a van with three children inside. It happened in the 2100 block of South Broadway on Wednesday afternoon.
A mother stopped at a gas station when the van was stolen. She entered the business to pay, leaving her three young children in the van, along with the keys.
Police said that is when the suspect, Jason Barajas, got into the van from a silver SUV parked next to it. He took off on Kinkaid before heading north on Broadway.
Barajas was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of three counts of kidnapping and aggravated child endangerment. He also faces auto theft, possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, transport of an open container and outstanding warrant.
The van was recovered in the 1500 block of South Gold about 15 minutes later with the children inside.
“We are very glad that we were able to have found that van in a somewhat short amount of time,” said Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay. “With the heat and the children in the car, obviously, this could have had a different outcome.”
“The children were scared but unharmed and reunited with parents,” said Capt. Brent Allred, Wichita Police Department.
Another man, 55-year-old Wesley Coleman, was driving the silver SUV and was arrested for driving on a suspended license and drug paraphernalia.
Both Barajas and Coleman were arrested at separate locations on west Kellogg.
Barajas was found in stolen black Suzuki Grand Vitara.
Police said they are going to present the case to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office for charges.