Man arrested after attempting to steal vehicle at grocery store with woman, child inside

An alleged gang member is in custody at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station after reportedly attempting to steal a vehicle at the La Cañada Ralphs grocery store Friday night with a woman and her 8-year-old daughter still inside.

Watch Commander Lt. DeMarcus Smith said the station received a call at around 7:40 p.m. indicating an altercation, possibly an incident of domestic violence, was taking place in the grocery store parking lot.

By the time deputies arrived on scene, however, they discovered an “extremely intoxicated” man had entered the victim’s car in an alleged attempt to steal it, according to Smith.

“He jumped inside and assaulted the victim by hitting her and pushing her to the side,” the watch commander said Saturday. “[The victim’s] 8-year-old daughter was in the backseat at the time.”

The vehicle had been running when the man entered it, and in his effort to leave the scene, the suspect pressed the starter button only to have the vehicle stop. Meanwhile, some customers in the vicinity heard the victim screaming and came to her aid, according to a sheriff’s report.

“[The suspect] stepped out of the car and did not attempt to leave. We arrived and detained him,” Smith said.

The man, a 19-year-old from Los Angeles and a self-described gang member, was arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon (with his hands) as well as attempted kidnapping and attempted carjacking, Smith said.

Deputies think the crime was not pre-meditated. Smith said the suspect was on probation and had a warrant out for his arrest, though the details were still being investigated Saturday.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries sustained during the incident, Smith said.

Twitter: @SaraCardine