A 6-month-old boy is back home with his parents after a terrifying ordeal that involved him being found in a stolen car, police said.
Yale Police Officers Maurice Staggers and Otilio Green heard the call regarding a stolen vehicle come in Monday night, they said. More importantly, the stolen Mercedes near New Haven, Connecticut, had the young child still in the backseat.
The two officers spotted a car that matched the description, and moved in for a closer look.
"I saw the license plate before Officer Staggers and I knew it was it. My heart was pounding, I had to get to that car, 100 percent," Green told NBC New York. Surveillance video showed the officers' patrol car approach the vehicle at a gas station, with the officers getting out of the car soon after.
"It was pristine, it was precision. The way they went in there, it seemed effortless. As quickly as it came in, no one could believe," said Yale Police Sgt. Michael Dominique.
The suspect got out of the Mercedes and was video showed the officers place him under arrest without issue. Green said he told the man to drop his bag and saw him reach in his pocket, and quickly put him in handcuffs.
His attention immediately turn to the baby.
"I asked Officer Staggers if the baby was in there, I didn't know. I had to know for myself. He said yeah, the baby is in there," Green said.
Police put the toddler, who was still in his car seat, into their squad car. Green said the child was quiet through the whole ordeal.
"He had his pacifier. He seemed happy," the officer said. Green said he talked to the child, asking if he was hungry — saying he couldn't help it, he was just "being a dad."
It's something both he and Staggers had in common that gave the situation even more depth for the officers: both are fathers to young children.
"I have a 16-month-old at home, (Staggers) has a 7-month-old," Green said.
The two dads continued to check on the found child, making sure he is safe and warm until EMS arrived in the parking lot. A family member arrived after, and walked the child over to be evaluated; not a scratch was found on him.
"It was surreal," said Dominique. "I could not be more proud."
As the police congratulated the officers, Yale Police stressed it was a team effort — an all-out search to find a baby in need of help, with the hard work paying off to safely rescue to the 6-month-old.
"I'm just happy that the family is safe," said Green.