Criminal catches and releases baby, car in Visalia parking lot

The Visalia Police Department is searching for a suspect who stole a vehicle that had a one-year-old juvenile inside

VISALIA – A mother ran into a restaurant in Mary’s Vineyard to pick up food and she returned to discover not only was her car missing, but so was her one-year-old child inside the car.

On Nov. 11 at 6:21 p.m., officers responded to Mary’s Vineyard regarding an auto theft that had just occurred. As officers were responding, they were informed that a one-year-old juvenile was inside the stolen vehicle. Officers learned that the juvenile’s mother entered a restaurant to pick up food and left the juvenile inside the running vehicle. Officers immediately searched for the vehicle and quickly located it in the rear parking lot of the business. The juvenile was unharmed. 

The suspect fled prior to officers arriving on scene. The Visalia Police Department Crime Lab Unit responded to process the vehicle. Tulare County Child Welfare Services was contacted and this investigation is ongoing. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Visalia Police Department. Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact the Anonymous Line at (559)713-4738.

Wednesday, Nov. 9

On Nov. 9, at 11:00 a.m., members of the Special Enforcement Unit contacted Suspect Steven Escalera, 35, on a traffic stop in the area of Willis Street and Grove Avenue. Officers found Escalera to be in possession of an amount of narcotics consistent with sales. The Narcotics Unit and the Special Enforcement Unit then served a search warrant at Escalera’s residence in the 800 block of North Conyer. 

Detectives located two unregistered firearms, an assault weapon and ammunition. Additional narcotics and evidence of narcotics sales was located within the residence. Escalera was arrested for narcotics sales, possession of an assault weapon, felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition.

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