Police arrest suspect in child vehicle theft

Police arrest suspect in child vehicle theft

WOONSOCKET – Woonsocket Police have arrested a man accused of stealing a vehicle while a child was inside earlier this week.

Derek Franklin, 35, was arrested Wednesday afternoon outside his residence near the Mason Grocery store, according to police. Franklin is accused of stealing a vehicle outside the store, located at 521 Elm St., on Monday afternoon. A two-and-a-half-year-old child had been left inside the running vehicle while the mother went inside the store. Video footage shows a man crossing the street to enter the running vehicle and driving off with the child inside.

Police discovered the vehicle a short time later abandoned on Sweet Avenue. The child, they said, was unharmed.

Police said they used video footage to analyze the incident. A credible tip led them to arrest Franklin Wednesday afternoon. Franklin was later released on $10,000 personal recognizance. He is charged with larceny (auto theft) over $1,500 and expected to appear in Superior Court for a pre-arraignment conference on Aug. 3.

The vehicle's owner, 28-year-old Sophiann Higgins, was cited for leaving a motor vehicle unattended.