Polk deputies make arrest in kidnapping, car theft case

Tracy Herr, photo via Polk County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: Tracy Herr, of Mulberry, will be charged with kidnapping, grand theft of a vehicle and occupied vehicle burglary, Polk deputies said. Herr, 44, was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail after being located in Tampa.

Detectives say he “stole a car with a 2-year-old child inside” at a Polk County pharmacy.

Herr’s criminal history includes 26 prior felonies, 24 misdemeanors and 12 additional charges.

“This doesn’t surprise us that a multiple repeat offender stole this car and endangered that baby. Hopefully, the criminal justice system, after full due process, will send him back to prison where he belongs. This guy is a one-man crime wave,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.

PREVIOUS STORY: POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Detectives are trying to find a kidnapping and car theft suspect.

Around 3:03 p.m. Thursday Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies were contacted about the reported kidnapping of a 2-year-old. The child was apparently taken from the Mulberry Pharmacy, 1009 North Church Ave., in Mulberry.

A family friend was caring for the child when she went inside the pharmacy to fill a prescription for him. The woman left the keys in the ignition and the toddler in the car.

The woman “told deputies she was only in the store for a few minutes when she returned to find the car, with the child inside, missing,” investigators said.

At 3:07 p.m. deputies were told the child and car were at another store nearby, AutoZone, located at 6609 North Church Ave. “Both had been abandoned,” deputies said.

The child was not injured, deputies said. He’s back with his mother.

The family friend described the possible suspect as a white male, wearing a black T-shirt- gray or khaki cargo shorts, and black shoes. The man has very short hair and had sunglasses on top of his head.

“Never leave your child unattended in a car,” deputies said. “This family is very fortunate their baby was located unharmed; the outcome could have been dramatically different. And please remember, if you see something, if you hear something, say something. The safety of a child may be dependent upon your reaction.”

If you have information about this incident, call Detective D. Grant at (863) 499-2400 or (863) 298-6200.

You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS or go to http://www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com in order to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward.


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