'My baby is in that car!' Raleigh man charged with kidnapping following AMBER Alert

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Man charged after SUV stolen with child inside
A woman who left a child inside her vehicle as she went into a Chapel Hill restaurant watched in horror as her SUV was stolen, prompting an AMBER Alert.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A man has been charged with kidnapping following an AMBER Alert that was sent out Monday night and involved a frantic search for a little girl.

Chapel Hill police charged 28-year-old Dustin Taylor Oakley, of Raleigh.

Prosecutors said in court Tuesday that this all started when a mother walked into a Jersey Mike's sub shop in Eastgate Shopping Center with two of her children. She left her 5-year-old daughter, who was asleep, in the car.

WATCH: The moment SUV with child inside is stolen

Surveillance video from Jersey Mike's shows the moment an SUV with a sleeping 5-year-old inside was stolen from a shopping center on East Franklin Street.

On surveillance video from Jersey Mike's, a man later identified as Oakley is seen pacing in front of the restaurant. At some point, the mother realized she could no longer see her headlights shining through the window of the store, ran outside and realized her SUV was gone.

On the 911 call, the frantic mother can be heard after the Dodge Durango pulled away with 5-year-old Arielle Williams inside: "My baby is in that car! My daughter ... my baby is in that car!"

Business owners at Eastgate Shopping Mall say they saw and heard what happened. The owners of Twisted Noodles showed ABC11 the surveillance video.

"I didn't find out until I got home and saw the AMBER Alert," said Jay Ponsak, the owner of Twisted Noodles. "I'm like wait, that just happened in front of my restaurant. Kind of scary you know? This place supposed to be safe around here in Chapel Hill, you know?

They told ABC11 that just before the kidnapping, Oakley is seen walking into their restaurant asking for money. Chapel Hill police say after this, around 8:30 last night, he stole the SUV from a parking lot with the 5-year-old girl inside.

They say he drove the stolen car for one hour from Chapel Hill to Lillington. That's where law enforcement caught up with him just after 11 p.m.

A 911 caller reported seeing the missing vehicle and Oakley, who the caller said was trying to sell him the stolen SUV.

The vehicle and the child were found at a Sheetz gas station. And that's where Oakley was arrested.

The prosecutor said authorities tracked the mother's cell phone to a convenience store trash can.

Oakley is facing first-degree kidnapping, felony larceny, misdemeanor larceny, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and felony possession of stolen goods.

Oakley made a first court appearance Tuesday afternoon. The judge left Oakley's bond in place at $500,000. His next hearing was set for May 15.