ATHENS, GA (WSB/CNN) - Police officers are searching for a carjacker who they say stole a car with an 11-month-old girl inside and left it and the child in the parking lot of a Home Depot.
Body camera footage shows the emotional moments when a police officer discovered the baby girl and got her out of the car. He unbuckles the child, picks her up and comforts her as she cries.
"Hey, little one, hey … How are you? Are you OK?" says the officer to the child.
When other officers arrive, they put the hood up on the baby’s clothing in order to keep her warm.
Though it only took police an hour to recover the 11-month-old after the car she was in was stolen right out of her mother’s driveway, that can feel like an eternity when no one knows if the child is safe.
"I'd be a nightmare, crying and so shaken up by it,” said resident Emma Grippen. "The fact that she lost her child like that has to be so horrible. You don't know who you can trust these days.”
Police say the baby was in the back of the car in her car seat Sunday night when her mother ran back inside the house for a moment. When the woman came back outside, the car – and her daughter – were gone.
After an all-out search, an officer spotted the car in the Home Depot parking lot, just a few miles away from the home. Police suspect the carjacker didn’t know the little girl was in the back while stealing the car.
Officers say they are happy they were able to reunite the mother and child.
"It was a very tender moment between the mother and child, obviously, and we were just happy that, in this case, things turned out really well,” said Geoffrey Gilland with the Athens-Clarke County Police.
The investigation is now focused on obtaining surveillance video from businesses in the area. Police are not sure if there is more than one thief.