Police hunting man who stole car with three-year-old boy inside

Amelia Broun

Police have new clues in the hunt for a car thief who sparked a panic yesterday by stealing a car with a three-year-old boy inside.

While you can’t see the face of the person driving, you can see their hands on the steering wheel as they pulled up to a Victoria Park business.

It was another two hours until the car was eventually found abandoned with little Joseph still inside.

Just before 2pm yesterday, the stolen Subaru pulled up next to Bridgestone Tyres and while the theft lasted less than 15 seconds, police are hopeful security footage will help them locate the person responsible for sparking the desperate manhunt.

The three-year-old boy was in the back of the Subaru when it was stolen at around 2pm. Source: 7 News
The stolen car sparked a huge manhunt to locate the car, Joseph and the person responsible. Source: 7 News

Three hours later the car was found dumped under a nearby carport.

“I’d like to thank the general public, friends and family who’ve walked, biked and driven to search for Joe in the area, the outcome is exactly what we had hoped for,” his relieved mother told reporters.

Two hours earlier his parents clutched their baby daughter as the huge search for their missing son evolved around them, including a text message distributed to 250,000 residents alerting them of the situation.

It worked. A woman saw the alert and went out searching, she found the car a kilometer from where she lives and only metres from where it was captured on hours earlier.

It was a nearby resident who conducted a search of her own, who discovered the stolen Subaru and alerted authorities. Source: 7 News

The son of the heroic woman heaped praise on his mother on social media following her discovery.

“Mum doesn’t like taking credit for things, but today she went looking for that little boy and found the car with the boy inside! What a hero, a happy ending to a scary story,” Luke Baker posted on Facebook.

“When you commit crimes in Western Australia, that’s one thing, but when you touch our children, that’s very serious and we come looking for you,” South Metro District Superintendent Brad Sorrell said.

The brave little three-year-old was yet to speak to his parents about what took place so they decided to follow suit and move past their horrific ordeal, telling 7 News the whole family slept extremely well after his recovery.

Joseph's parents praised the community for their support and rescue efforts to bring their little boy home. Source: 7 News

“To our amazing neighbours, for holding me as I stood in the driveway in shock; for starting your own searches for Joe; for bringing us dinner; for the flowers, the wine and the hugs... you are my family when they are not here,” his grateful mother wrote on Facebook.

Whoever stole the Subaru remains at large and police are seeking the public's help to catch the person responsible.