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Merced police have booked a 34-year-old transient into jail on kidnapping charges after he allegedly stole a car with a 3 year-old child in the back seat Monday night.

The child was found safe, still in the car, after it was abandoned near Highway 99 in Chowchilla. Authorities said an unidentified person called the Highway Patrol after seeing the vehicle, which had been described in an Amber Alert issued about 35 minutes earlier.

Police Say Suspect Confessed

Police said the suspect, Hardev Singh, confessed and provided specific details that linked him to the incident. He was apprehended after an off-duty Chowchilla police officer saw a man matching the description of the suspect. Chowchilla detectives located Singh and held him for Merced police, who arrested him on the kidnapping charge as well as child endangerment, carjacking, auto theft and possession of stolen property.

Merced police are seeking additional information about the case from the public. The detective in charge of the investigation can be reached at 209-388-7712 or via email at pinnegarj@cityofmerced.org.

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