PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As police continue to hunt for the person who stole a car with a baby inside, setting off a statewide Amber Alert, the officer who reunited the child with his family is being hailed a hero.
On Saturday night, Providence Police Officer David Impagliazzo’s phone loudly buzzed.
“I got the Amber Alert just like everybody else did, straight to the phone,” he said. “I didn’t get any sort of advance notice about it.”
The baby’s father had left the car running on Ann Mary Street in Pawtucket as he ran into a store, and when he came back out, the vehicle and his son were gone.
A father himself, Impagliazzo said his heart sank as he read a 6-month-old boy had gone missing.
“I mean, all parents, you see something like that and your heart absolutely drops, even if you don’t know the person,” he said. “You can’t imagine being in that situation.”
Impagliazzo told 12 News that even though he had just arrived at work an hour before his shift was supposed to begin, he jumped in his cruiser and started searching after receiving a tip that the car may have been spotted in his precinct.
While driving down Nellie Street, less than a mile from where the car was stolen, something caught his eye.
“The license plate on the car that was from the Amber Alert was KA251. There was an Acura right here that was KA851 and I thought, maybe somebody saw the car, called that in thinking that was the car,” Impagliazzo recalled. “But I was like, just to rule it out, I’ll double-check the parking lot, and I pulled down in here and there was the car.”
Not knowing whether the suspect was still around, he cautiously approached the vehicle.
“It was tinted, but I could see pretty quickly that there was no one in it and then immediately, transferring from that, as you know, to ‘I hope this kid’s still in here,'” he said.
And there sat the baby boy, still in his car seat.
“Sleepy, maybe been upset before, been crying and kind of was running out of gas or whatever, but he seemed OK,” Impagliazzo added. “He looked at me and didn’t really seem all too bothered.”
While Impagliazzo says he was just doing his job, others like Pawtucket City Councilwoman Melissa DaRosa are praising his heroism.
“They made the baby’s safety a high priority,” she said. “I saw the officer comforting the baby until the family got there. You don’t get to see that part of law enforcement.”
Pawtucket police are leading the investigation and say the search for the suspect is ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective William Figura at (401) 727-9100 ext. 764.