A Sebring woman has been arrested after she stole a car with two children inside on Monday night.
According to a news release from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, Shauna Marie McGraw, 36, faces two counts of kidnapping, two counts of child neglect without great bodily harm and one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle.
The car was stolen from a Subway restaurant at 6225 US 27 North in Sebring just before 7:30 p.m.
The driver, who is the mother of children, said she parked the vehicle where she could see it and went inside to get some food.
She didn’t see McGraw get in the car but she saw the vehicle drive away which is when the 911 call was made.
McGraw told deputies she knew the children were in the vehicle but she had an argument with her fiance and needed to “get away,” according to the sheriff’s office.
She drove the car for a short distance and then fled the car, abandoning the vehicle.
She was followed by Nakeem Brown, a former Highlands County Sheriff’s Office employee who now works in loss prevention for Walmart.
The children, a 2-year-old boy and a 6-month old boy, were not harmed.
“I want to thank you Nakeem Brown for his assistance,” said Highland Sheriff Paul Blackman. “Not only did he call us when he saw the suspect, he went above and beyond and followed her, leading deputies to her location.”
“This incident shows why you should always lock your car when you are not in it,” Blackman said. “This could have turned out much, much worse. While we could charge the mother of the children for leaving them in the car unattended, I think it’s safe to say she learned a valuable lesson from this and will never do that again.”