TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Two children were rescued only minutes after they were kidnapped in a carjacking Monday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.
Deputy Jonathan Pazmino Alvarez was flagged down at around 6:40 p.m. on Monday while driving through Tampa by a man who said his truck had just been stolen with his two young children still inside.
Deputy Pazmino Alvarez immediately chased after the man’s 2011 white Chevrolet Silverado, and without losing sight of the truck, managed to perform a traffic stop within a few minutes.
“Stop the truck now!” Deputy Pazmino Alvarez ordered through his police cruisers speaker system. Alvarez’s body camera shows one of the children saying ‘That’s not my dad!’ as he tells the driver to get out of the truck.
Deputies said the man behind the wheel was 37-year-old Kevin Smith, whose criminal history dates back to 2003 in Hillsborough County. Also in the truck were two children, aged 4 and 8.
Pazmino Alvarez approached the vehicle, which had stopped in a parking lot. One of the children told the deputy, “This guy robbed my dad’s car,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Smith was arrested without further incident. He faces two counts of felony kidnapping and one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle.
The two children were not injured and returned safely to their father.
Deputies added that Smith is currently incarcerated at the Falkenburg Road Jail without bond.
“This situation could’ve been a lot worse had it not been for the swift action taken by Deputy Pazmino Alvarez,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “He halted what could have been an otherwise terrifying situation for any parent. Thanks to him, two children are safe and in the arms of their loved ones today.”