He thought a driver was dumping trash in the road. Getting closer, he realized it was a baby.

Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 4:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - About 7 p.m. Monday, a car was stolen from the Aloha Gas station in Waianae. Witnesses say it was parked at the pump when a man jumped in the driver’s seat and took off.

And in the passenger’s seat: A baby in her car seat.

When the thief realized the baby was there, though, he didn’t get her to safety.

Instead, he dumped her in the middle of the Lualualei Homestead Road.

That’s where James Moniz says he found her just after 8 p.m.

“Everybody knows me as Mousey,” he said in an interview Tuesday, as he picked up litter in the community. “I do what most people wouldn’t. I just clean the road. Pick up the rubbish.”

That’s what he was doing Monday evening.

In fact, he was just about to head home when a car came barreling past him.

“When the car pulled on the side I told my friend hey let’s go check it out. He might be throwing rubbish or littering or something,” Moniz said.

“As we were approaching the car, he did a U-turn and he drove back this way. So I just kept driving .”

On his way back, he noticed something odd sitting in the road.

“The baby chair was here,” Moniz said, pointing down at the pavement. “It was covered with a shirt. So I pulled on the side of the road and I told my friend we got to go check this out.”

When he looked inside, he couldn’t believe what he saw.

“I was like ‘Oh my God! It’s a baby in here. What are we going to do?’” Moniz said. “And at the same time there was a big truck coming down with a big horse trailer.”

Moniz stopped the truck and then called police.

After the thief dumped the baby he ditched the car, too, about a mile away on Hale Ekahi Street.

Thanks to Moniz, the baby was found almost immediately after she was left in the road. “She was smiling and it kind of gave me a good feeling, like wow, it was our purpose to be here at that time,” he said.

Moniz says he thanks God for that.

“I felt a sense of relief because I could only imagine if that was my child,” he said.

The suspect is described as a man who appeared to be in his 20s, with short hair, fair skin and a thin build. He was said to be wearing a black t-shirt, black shorts and slippers.

In a statement, Aloha Petroleum said it is aware of the incident and “relieved no one was hurt.”

“We can confirm we are working closely with local law enforcement and will continue to assist in the investigation as needed,” the statement continued.

If you have any information on this case call Honolulu Crimestoppers at 955-8300.

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