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Boy, 5, abducted in Park Ridge  was soon found unharmed

Updated: March 22, 2014 6:26AM



A Park Ridge 5-year-old boy was found safe in Skokie after being abducted from outside his home Thursday afternoon, officials said.

Drake Whitker had been sleeping in his mother’s 2012 Audi Q5 when a man stole the running vehicle at 12:18 p.m in the 1700 block of Good Avenue, Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski said. The boy’s mother just returned from carrying packages into the home when she saw a man getting into the car.

She began yelling and pounding on the vehicle to stop him from driving off, police said.

But the man pulled the car out of the woman’s driveway and drove south on Good, Kaminski said.

Officers activated the Amber Alert system for missing children, and the chief said police soon heard from someone who found an Audi parked in a Skokie alleyway near Oakton and Laramie — where Kaminski said vehicles are rarely parked.

Skokie police arrived within seconds and found Drake in “good spirits,” Kaminski said. The boy was soon put in touch with his mother by cell phone, the chief said.

“They started talking about what’s for dinner tonight,” he said.

The boy and his mother were physically reunited later at the Skokie Police Department, according to the chief.

But the person who stole the car — and who Kaminski said faces kidnapping and auto theft charges — is still at large.

“We will find you,” Kaminski said, urging the person to turn himself in.

Meanwhile, the chief said officers haven’t had a chance to talk with the child about what happened during his abduction. Kaminski also said investigators will be speaking to the boy’s mother about what, if anything, preceded the kidnapping.

“You can appreciate what the poor mom’s going through,” Kaminski said.

An Audi SUV matching the police description of the stolen car could be seen, cordoned off by crime scene tape, in a Skokie alleyway near Brown Street and Laramie Avenue.

Neighbors gawked as they walked near the scene, with several remarking that “nothing ever happens in Skokie.”

“I got the amber alert on my phone and within three or four minutes I heard all these sirens outside,” said Lindy Johnson, 23, who lives across the street from where the boy and the SUV were found.

Next thing she knew, heavily armed police and K-9 units flooded her neighborhood about 3 p.m., searching for the carjacker.

Johnson saw the young victim escorted from the scene by police. She said he looked unharmed, but shaken up.

“I got the amber alert and thought ‘what if they show up in Skokie?’ “ Johnson said. “Then I look outside and there’s all these police cars. To think that it was right in front of my house is crazy.”

The suspect was described as a black male in his late teens or early 20s with an afro hairstyle, wearing a Chicago Cubs jacket and jeans, police said.

Anyone with information about the incident should call Park Ridge police at (847) 318-5252.

Contributing: Brian Slodysko



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