INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A 6-year-old Missouri boy was dragged to his death in a botched car robbery after he became entangled in a seat belt and dangled from the car as the thief sped away, police said on Wednesday.

Police said the incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon when 6-year-old Jake Robel's mother left her Chevrolet Blazer running with the boy inside as she went inside a sandwich shop in Independence.A man jumped into the sport-utility vehicle and attempted to shove the boy out. The boy was caught in the seat belt and ended up dangling from the door.

Several motorists chased and finally caught the thief after seeing the child being dragged beside the speeding vehicle.

Witnesses told local television that a group of men surrounded the Blazer with their vehicles at a stop light, wrestled the thief the ground, tied his legs with rope and held him until police arrived.

The boy, of Blue Springs, Missouri, was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses told the Kansas City Star newspaper that most of the child's clothes were torn off as he was dragged.

Independence police Lt. Gordon Brown said officials would not release the name of the suspect, who was being held in a local jail, until an arraignment later Wednesday. Brown said police were working with prosecutors on a list of charges.

Police said it was unclear whether he knew the boy was being dragged as he sped away.