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Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
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St. Pete police find boy taken along with stolen car

ST. PETERSBURG - A tense six-hour search for a missing 1-year-old boy ended on a happy note late Friday when the child was found sleeping in the back seat of a car stolen earlier in the day. Tamarcus Daise Jr. was found still in his car seat in the stolen vehicle in an alley near Fourth Avenue North. The infant was in the car when it was taken from outside a First Avenue North apartment complex. He and the car were found four blocks away. Police, who had to break into the vehicle, said the baby appeared fine.
Police said someone took the red 2010 Dodge Charger at about 4:15 p.m. from the 1700 block of First Avenue North. Tamarcus Daise left his son in the idling car when he went to pick up a friend at a nearby apartment complex, said Mike Puetz, a police spokesman. Daise said he was planning to be gone only a minute and that he could see the car from the apartment's front door. He said his attention was diverted momentarily, and when he turned back to the car, he saw someone driving off. The father immediately called police, but he was later arrested for obstruction of justice for providing false information to officers, police said. Puetz said the car theft appeared to be a crime of opportunity in which someone took the car without realizing the boy was in the back. Daise's brother, Tyreece LaSalle Rutledge, also was arrested after pointing a pistol at two detectives, police said. Authorities said that Rutledge was upset and confrontational, yelling that police weren't doing enough to find his nephew. Rutledge has been charged with aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, police said. Area residents had pleaded for the car thief to return the baby to his mother. "Let that lady get her baby," said Denise Robinson. "Whatever you want to do, that's your problem. Bring her baby to this woman."

Reporter Tom Brennan contributed to this report.

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