PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The man accused of stealing car in Providence with a 3-year-old child inside has been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to authorities.
Police confirmed that surveillance footage from inside Providence Place mall vindicates Osvaldo Vazquez, 50, who was arrested and charged with stealing a woman’s car from the parking lot of a liquor store last week.
“I have to give credit to detectives for still working this case even though an apprehension had been made,” Providence Police Major David Lapatin said. “We don’t stop when we have somebody apprehended.”
Police said Vazquez was seen on mall surveillance footage around the same time the car was stolen and driven to the Omni Hotel, where the suspect had abandoned it with the child inside.
“Video showed that it was another person [who stole the car], and when we had found that out, we had just gotten possession of a new video,” Lapatin explained Monday.
Lapatin would not elaborate on what the new video was nor where it had come from.
Vazquez tells 12 News he was released on Saturday, and Lapatin said the charges against him have since been dropped.
Vazquez said he’s been “humiliated” and believes detectives didn’t do their due diligence.
“I was wrongly arrested for a crime that I didn’t commit,” Vazquez said. “I’ve been telling them since they handcuffed me that I didn’t do it and to check the videos.”
“Everything was a lie, the whole thing was a lie,” he added.
When the car was reported stolen last week, detectives said a witness followed the stolen car to the Omni Hotel. He later positively identified Vazquez as the suspect.
Police initially said Vazquez ran from the Omni Hotel and hopped on a RIPTA bus. Once Vazquez was apprehended, detectives met with the bus driver who also identified Vazquez as the person who ran off the bus.
The bus driver also told police Vazquez was the only passenger on the bus at the time of the incident.
“We had a witness who gave us a positive [identification] and the clothing matched very closely … [it was] the same area,” Lapatin said. “That’s what you need to bring the charge, and we did, but we always go further.”
“Thankfully we came to a different conclusion,” he continued. “He was released immediately.”
Lapatin said detectives haven’t identified any other suspects and the investigation is ongoing.