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Woman suspected in Amber Alert abduction of 10-year-old arrested after police chase

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Posted at 8:49 AM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 09:12:53-04

LAWRENCE — A woman who allegedly stole an SUV from a Lawrence gas station with a 10-year-old child inside was arrested Thursday following a police chase in an unrelated incident, police said Friday.

Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department pursued a stolen vehicle Thursday in the 1100 block of South Sherman Drive, according to Lawrence Police Department Captain Tracey Cantrell.

Cantrell said the pursuit ended in the 6200 block of South Keystone Avenue when officers performed a P.I.T. maneuver on the vehicle.

IMPD officers arrested Brandi Behning and notified Lawrence Police Department detectives. During an interrogation, Behning told investigators she stole a Honda Pilot SUV on Wednesday when it was parked and running at an Exxon gas station on Pendleton Pike, Cantrell said.

"She said she was not aware a child was inside the vehicle initially, but later parked the car and left it running with the heat on after she saw (the 10-year-old boy) asleep in the backseat," Cantrell said in a statement.

The child's mother told police she went inside the gas station at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday "for just a minute" and left her sleeping 10-year-old in the back seat. When came outside, her vehicle was gone.

Lawrence Police Department officers contacted Indiana State Police, who issued an Amber Alert at 9:30 a.m.

Police said someone recognized the Honda SUV parked at a Burger King on South Keystone Avenue within 30 minutes of the Amber Alert being issued.

Police found the 10-year-old still sleeping in the back seat of the vehicle when they arrived. Behning was not near the scene, police said.

Behning faces preliminary charges of auto theft and resisting law enforcement with a vehicle for the IMPD pursuit, along with kidnapping with a vehicle and auto theft in the Amber Alert incident. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office will make a final charging decision.

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