Make your home page

Witness describe moments when mother had car stolen with children in back seat

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — A Greencastle man remains in jail after he was accused of stealing a woman’s car with her two kids in the back seat.

It happened Sunday night near North Lynhurst Drive and West 10th Street in Speedway.

Police arrested Allen Dryden on charges of kidnapping, confinement and auto theft.

Mary Ajayi told 24-Hour News 8 she was working Sunday night at Grace Variety Store when she saw one of her regular customers.

“She went in to buy a loaf of bread so she took the bread and realized she did not have enough money in the purse,” said Ajayi, owner. “She went into her car to get more money.”

But the customer’s car was nowhere to be found.

“She opened the door and she was like where’s my car? I said what are you talking about, where did you park? She said right there by the door.”

Ajayi said she didn’t believe it at first.

“I couldn’t believe that the car was gone because we have never had that kind of incident,” she said. “We’ve been here 15 years nothing like that.”

Ajayi said her customer began to panic.

“She threw her shoes,” she said. “She was screaming so I quickly took my phone and I called 911.”

The customer told police she left her car running with her children — ages five and two, still sleeping in the back seat.

“We obviously we’re very concerned for the safety of the children that was the primary focus in this case,” said Sgt. Jim Thiele, Speedway Police Department.

Speedway police alerted surrounding agencies of the stolen car and missing kids. Police said an officer with IMPD spotted a car matching the description of the stolen grey Toyota Camry.

“In less than an hour an officer was able to locate the vehicle, was able to initiate a traffic stop of the vehicle and the suspect was appended and arrested,” said Thiele.

Police arrested 29-year-old Allen Dryden near Lafayette and West 16th Street. Ajayi said police returned to the store with good news for the mother.

“She was happy, she was crying, she was rolling she was praising God and all of us were praising God,” said Ajayi. “Even the police they were hugging.”

The children were found safe and unharmed still sleeping in the backseat.

Ajayi said she’s now planning to keep a closer watch on her customers.

“I’m going to be asking: do you leave any children in the car? Go and bring the children in no matter if they’re sleeping or not you have to bring them in,” she said. “I think I’m going to be an ambassador doing that now.”

Police are asking drivers to be careful when warming up or leaving your car running during the winter months. Police said it’s simply not worth losing your car or perhaps your children.