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Layton Police Department
A surveillance image shows a man suspected of stealing a car while two young children were inside on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, in Layton. Police said the man dropped off the children a short time later, but that he remained at large.

LAYTON — Police are trying to locate a man who they say stole a car with a toddler and an infant inside and led officers on a chase.

The incident began about 3:15 p.m. when a man ran from an officer who approached him in an apartment complex parking lot at 225 N. Fairfield Road, according to Layton Police Lt. Travis Lyman.

The man ran to a car inside a parking stall that another man was performing work on while his 3-year-old and infant were inside, the lieutenant said. The car thief was able to wrest control of the vehicle, and the mother of the children, who was trying to get them away from the vehicle, was hit by an open door as he quickly backed out of the stall, Lyman said.

A surveillance video of the incident shows a brief struggle between the two men. The woman can be seen nearby being pinned against a parking stall post upon being hit by the car, then falling onto her back. As the car drives away, the man and woman are both seen chasing after it. A police officer draws his gun and points it at the driver as he leaves the parking lot.

Lyman described that 30-second window of events as "just a very volatile, dangerous situation."

After the man drove away, he left the children by themselves in the parking lot of a Cal Ranch store a few blocks away and then began driving again, Lyman said. Officers made contact with the children soon after a witness called to say they had been abandoned.

Police soon afterward spotted the fleeing vehicle and began a chase, at one point trying unsuccessfully to stop the car with tire spikes, Lyman said. The chase was called off after the man got onto southbound I-15 and began traveling up to 100 mph, he said.

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The fleeing man is described as white, 25 years old, with a long dark ponytail, a tattoo sleeve on one of his arms, and a tattoo on his cheek that looks like a "W." The car stolen car is a white 2006 Toyota Corolla with license plate No. X923ZU.

The man was initially approached by an officer while "hanging out near a dumpster" in the area, Lyman said. He said the two spoke for "several minutes," and that after the officer went back to his car to verify the name the man had given him, the man fled.

Anyone who sees a man or car matching those descriptions, or who has additional information about the case, is asked to call Layton police at 801-497-8300.

Contributing: Paul Nelson