WOOD RIVER, Ill. (KMOV.com)— A child is safe after the car it was inside was stolen from a Metro East gas station overnight.

According to the clerk at “Moe’s Corner Gas Station” on Wood River Avenue, around 10:15 p.m. Sunday, a woman pulled up to one of the far pumps and left her car running with a 4-year-old inside as she walked into the store to pay for gas for a friend who was parked nearby. The friend told police he said he would watch the vehicle while the woman was inside the store.

While the woman was inside the store, a man entered her car and sped away. The clerk told News 4 the woman’s friend tried to hang onto the vehicle to get the driver to stop as the woman ran from the store screaming her child was inside the vehicle. The man was dragged while the suspect was driving off in the stolen car, authorities said. He told police he scratched the suspect in the face during the incident.

Car theft suspect

Surveillance image of man suspected of stealing a car with a child inside at "Moe's Corner Gas Station" on July 21.

A short distance from the gas station, the car thief stopped the vehicle and ran from it. The friend was then able to bring the vehicle with the child back to the gas station.

The child was not hurt. The friend who attempted to stop the theft was also uninjured.

Monday, police said they were processing the vehicle for evidence and working to enhance video of the incident to better identify the suspect. A surveillance image was then released of the suspect with the victim’s vehicle.

Anyone with information regarding the crime or suspect is urged to call police at 618-251-3114.

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