Gastonia man in custody after stealing car with 3 year old inside


A three-year-old child is safe after a vehicle he was left in was stolen from a convenience store parking lot near High Shoals on Saturday.

Police have charged 39-year-old Timothy David French of Gastonia after they say he stole a car, led officers on a vehicle chase and abducted and abandoned a child. 

Lincoln County sheriffs say two men arrived in a red car at the Will's Food Store in High Shoals around 9:45 a.m.

The driver of a white Chevrolet Silverado with a 3-year-old child inside pulled in to the lot by a gas pump and went inside the store. One of the men who was riding in the red car, French, jumped in the Chevrolet truck with the child inside and left the scene driving toward Gaston County. 

Lincoln County Communications notified Gaston County and Highway Patrol. Gaston County officers then got behind the car on Highway 321 and chased the truck over several roads before it entered the state of South Carolina on Highway 321 just past Robinson Road. 

York County officers assisted in the chase of the stolen truck before it returned to North Carolina where Gaston County officers initiated a traffic stop on Myrtle School Road. 

At that point, French fled the scene on foot, leaving the 3 year old behind. Officers chased him for a short distance before making an arrest. 

Authorities estimated speeds in the chase exceeded 100 miles p/h. 

An ambulance was dispatched to the scene to check the condition of the child. The child appeared to be fine. Lincoln County deputies brought the parents to Gaston County to pick up the child and the stolen car. 

French was arrested and charged with one felony count each of larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen goods and abduction of a child. He is also charged with one misdemeanor county of child abuse. 

French is being held under a $60,000 secured bond. He is also facing a number of charges in Gaston County. 






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