The mother who left two children in an SUV that a thief stole and then crashed two minutes later - while she was inside a Magnolia liquor store just before midnight Saturday - has not been charged, a spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said Monday.
"No charges have been filed against her at this time, but we are continuing the investigation," Andy McNeil said. Authorities are withholding the identify of the 32-year-old Lawnside woman, to whom the 8-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl were returned after they were treated for minor injuries at Cooper University Hospital, he said.
Christopher R. Dumas, 38, of Paulsboro, was held in the Camden County Jail on Monday after police charged him with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of theft. Dumas' occupation was not known.
Bail was set at $400,000, McNeil said.
The police report said Dumas had "active warrants and extensive criminal history." A website maintained by the New Jersey courts showed he has been convicted on 40 charges over the last 15 years. Among them were theft, robbery, burglary, assault, and obstruction of government operations.
Surveillance footage that NBC10 obtained from a nearby establishment showed the image of a man who appeared to be watching Colombo's Liquor from across the street. He crossed the White Horse Pike as the woman pulled into the parking lot and got out of her gold 2010 Chevrolet Trailblazer.
Magnolia police said she left the engine running. The suspect climbed into the vehicle and took off. Police could not say whether Dumas was aware of the children in the backseat as he drove away.
Magnolia Detective Joe Pappalardo said the woman alerted police at 11:37 p.m., when she came out of the store and found her vehicle and her children were missing.
Police could not say what the woman bought or how long she was in the store. State law allows only beer and wine to be sold after 10 p.m. The store was open until 1 a.m.
Dumas allegedly sped off and traveled about three miles down the White Horse Pike, colliding with another SUV when he turned onto Merchant Street in Audubon. The Trailblazer veered onto the front lawn of a house and flipped over, police said.
Pappalardo said the children were treated for minor scrapes and bruises. Dumas also was treated for minor injuries.
The 48-year-old Mount Ephraim woman in the other SUV was also treated for minor injuries, McNeil said.