A 6-year-old girl sitting in a pickup when it was stolen from the Walmart Super parking lot in Elkin Sunday morning was found unharmed about 15 miles away at a church in Yadkin County later that day, said Capt. Josh Tulbert of the Elkin Police Department.
Tulbert said Christopher Davis Coffey, 37, of Lenoir, charged by Elkin police with second-degree kidnapping, motor vehicle theft and other offenses, apparently didn’t immediately realize the child was inside when he pushed the 17-year-old female driver of the pickup away from the vehicle and drove off. The incident was reported at 10:42 a.m. Sunday.
He said the child was released at Richmond Hill Baptist Church, just north of N.C. 67 between Boonville and East Bend, while Elkin and Jonesville police officers searched for the pickup and spoke with the victim-driver and witnesses. The child was found at the same church. The 6-year-old and the 17-year-old are sisters.
Tulbert said the child was found at Richmond Hill Baptist Church and cared for by a member of the church who also called the Yadkin Sheriff’s Office. Yadkin deputies picked up the child at the church.
The Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office was notified just before noon Sunday that a Red Dodge pickup reported stolen in Surry County was last seen traveling on U.S. 421 and headed toward Wilkes, said Major Logan Kerr of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office.
Kerr said Wilkes deputies located the pickup at 5606 Wilkes-Yadkin Road, which is near U.S. 421 in eastern Wilkes, and found Coffey on foot behind a building nearby. Wilkes deputies took Coffey into custody early Sunday afternoon and transported him to the Wilkes County Jail. The Wilkes Sheriff’s Office charged Coffey with felony possession of a stolen vehicle
Tulbert said that in addition to second-degree kidnapping and motor vehicle theft, Corp. James Brooks of the Elkin Police Department charged Coffey with reckless driving to endanger persons or property, driving while license revoked and assault on a female. The assault charge resulted from the driver of the pickup being pushed out of the way, he said.
“Later, the vehicle the suspect arrived in at Walmart was recovered as a stolen vehicle, reportedly taken from Stokes County,” said Tulbert. Charges against Coffey in other jurisdictions are expected, he said.
He said that in addition to the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office, the N.C. Highway Patrol, Jonesville and Pilot Mountain police departments and the Yadkin, Surry and Stokes sheriff’s offices assisted. He also thanked representatives of Walmart on C.C. Camp Road in Elkin and Richmond Hill Baptist Church for their help.