DAYTONA BEACH — A carjacker who dragged the car owner 50 yards had a change of heart after he looked in the backseat and saw two children, police said.
The suspect, Joshua Gerdes, 32, stopped the vehicle and ran into the woods near the IHOP on Bill France Boulevard on Thursday, but was quickly caught after a Daytona Beach police K-9 showed up and spotted him, according to an arrest report.
"He wants to apologize and he didn't know there (were) two kids in the vehicle," the report stated.
Gerdes, whose listed address is in Atlanta, was charged with two counts of false imprisonment involving children and one count each of carjacking and aggravated battery. He remained held Friday on $100,000 bail at the Volusia County Branch Jail.
The owner of the stolen Mitsubishi Lancer, Salvatore Arcamone, 26, of Orange City, told police that his vehicle was left running and unlocked as he assisted his friend, who had just been involved in a traffic crash, according to the report. His two children, ages 4 and 5, were asleep in the backseat.
Just after 4 p.m., Gerdes rolled up to the running vehicle on a bicycle, took off his backpack and then got into the driver's seat and sped away, police said. Arcamone, who was only standing a few feet away from his car, grabbed the door handle before and was dragged along the parking lot until Gerdes stopped the vehicle and ran away, the report stated.
Arcamone suffered lacerations to both knees, but declined a transport to the hospital, police said.
Gerdes was arrested in July 2017 in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, on suspicion of stealing a Pepsi van, according to a story in The Sun Chronicle.
Authorities caught up to Gerdes on Interstate 95 after the vehicle was tracked using the in-vehicle GPS, the article stated.
Gerdes was charged in that case with larceny of a motor vehicle, driving without a license and use of a motor vehicle without authority. The outcome of that case was not available.
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