Grandmother, good Samaritan chase down stolen SUV with baby inside
LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (WABC) - After police say a man stole a grandmother’s SUV with her sleeping grandchild inside, a good Samaritan helped her chase down the thief.
A grandmother in Long Island left her sleeping grandchild in her SUV while she ran into a store on Valentine’s Day. She thought she locked the doors, but police say a man jumped in and sped away with her car and the baby.
Authorities identified the suspect as 55-year-old Paul Ludeman, seen loitering near the store in surveillance video.
Good Samaritan Bill Gorga was just about to buy his wife champagne for Valentine’s Day when he allegedly witnessed Ludeman jump into the grandmother’s SUV and drive off.
While inside the store, the grandmother noticed her vehicle suddenly begin to drive away.
Having seen the crime and the now frantic grandmother, Gorga knew he had to act.
“She goes, ‘Somebody just took off in my car with the baby,’” Gorga said. “I opened up the passenger door. I says, ‘Get in. We’re going to get the baby.’”
The pair chased after Ludeman, carefully cutting him off about half a mile up the road, where the grandmother jumped out. She ran up to the SUV and got inside in an attempt to rescue her grandchild.
But that, apparently, didn’t stop the suspect.
“Gets in to get the baby, and this guy takes off,” Gorga said.
Now, with two people in the allegedly stolen vehicle, Gorga continued the chase. He managed to cut Ludeman off again, at which point the grandmother and baby got out of the SUV safely.
“Who knows where he would’ve went?” Gorga said.
Gorga said the baby’s grandmother thanked him for his help. He says he’d do it all over again.
“She said, ‘Thank you.’ Gave me a big hug and a kiss,” he said.
Police said Ludeman continued to drive once the two were out of the vehicle, traveling at 70 miles per hour, more than double the speed limit, and disregarding traffic signals. He eventually hit a guardrail and was arrested shortly thereafter.
Ludeman is being held on charges of grand larceny and aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child in the car. He has prior convictions for DWI and grand larceny.
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