An alleged carjacking in Tampa ended quickly this week after the man who said his vehicle had been stolen alerted a Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy.
Police said the vehicle was taken Monday at about 6:40 p.m in downtown Tampa.
Deputy Jonathan Pazmino Alvarez was approached by a man who said his truck had just been taken and that his two children were in the vehicle, according to WFLA-TV.
A chase began, but it ended quickly after Pazmino Alvarez, who kept the vehicle in sight as he chased it, ordered the driver to pull over, according to a video posted to YouTube by Law & Crime.
When the deputy approached, he asked the driver to roll down the window.
One child blurted out, “This guy robbed my dad’s car.”
“Step out of the car, bro,” Pazmino Alvarez told the driver, who did not move.
The deputy then demanded the car keys, which the driver eventually surrendered.
The driver insisted he could not leave the vehicle because the deputy would punch him.
“Nah, I’m not gonna punch you, bro,” the deputy replied.
Later, as the deputy tried to convince the man behind the wheel to get out of the truck, one of the children told the deputy who stopped the vehicle, “That’s not my dad,” according to the YouTube video.
The driver, Kevin Smith, who police said has been arrested at various times since 2003, was arrested.
Because of the presence of the children in the vehicle, Smith, 37, faces two counts of felony kidnapping in addition to one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle, police said, adding that Smith was being held without bond.
The children — ages 4 and 8 — were not hurt and were returned to their father, police said.
“This situation could’ve been a lot worse had it not been for the swift action taken by Deputy Pazmino Alvarez,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said, according to a news release on the sheriff’s office website.
“He halted what could have been an otherwise terrifying situation for any parent. Thanks to him, two children are safe and in the arms of their loved ones today.”
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