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News / Clark County News

Vancouver man accused of stealing car with a baby inside

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: April 10, 2023, 4:50pm

A judge set a Vancouver man’s bail at $900,000 Monday in three new cases, including one in which he’s accused of stealing a car with a baby inside Saturday in Hazel Dell.

Mario D. Andrews, 40, appeared in Clark County Superior Court on allegations of second-degree kidnapping, theft of a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment, possession of a stolen vehicle, attempt to elude and failure to register as a sex offender. He is scheduled to be arraigned April 24.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kristen Arnaud asked Judge Robert Lewis to order Andrews be held on $1.1 million bail across the three cases, with $1 million on the kidnapping case.

“This is a substantial request, and I understand that. However, there’s a substantial amount of criminal history that I’m going to cover,” Arnaud said.

Andrews’ criminal history includes numerous convictions for taking a motor vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle. He also has a 2005 child molestation conviction and multiple convictions for failure to register as a sex offender, Arnaud said.

She said his criminal history amounts to, “a continuous chain of felony offenses dating back to 2001.” He was released from prison March 14, she said.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies responded shortly before 8 a.m. to reports of a kidnapping and vehicle theft at Happy Juice in the parking lot of 1501 N.E. 99th St.

The owner of Happy Juice, John Ross, called 911 to report a man stole his Audi Q3 with his newborn son inside, according to a probable cause affidavit. The suspect drove away south on Highway 99.

Officers from multiple agencies responded to the area to search for the missing child. Shortly after, a sheriff’s sergeant found the vehicle further south on Highway 99 with only the baby inside, court records state.

The baby did not appear to be injured, and he was returned to his parents after a medical check, according to the sheriff’s office.

Ross said he was in the process of opening Happy Juice for the day when he saw a man looking in the windows of his car. The man, later identified by police as Andrews, opened the door of Ross’ car, and Ross said he shouted at him that his son was inside. As Ross ran toward his car, he said Andrews got inside and drove away, according to the affidavit.

Deputies obtained surveillance video from a nearby business, which showed Andrews cross the street from a drugstore and approach Ross’ car, the affidavit states.

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At 11:11 a.m., deputies said Ross contacted them to report Andrews was using Ross’ bank card at gas stations, a fast-food restaurant and, later, at stores at the Vancouver Mall, court records state.

Deputies, along with Vancouver police, responded to the mall. While officers were searching the mall, Ross called to tell them he had detained Andrews on the second floor of a department store. They found the men and determined the suspect was wearing the same clothes as the man seen stealing Ross’ car, according to court records.

When deputies searched Andrews, they found he had three people’s driver’s licenses, along with their bank cards and stolen cash, the affidavit states.

Ross told deputies he went to the mall when he discovered Andrews was using his cards there and spotted him. He said he confronted him and saw Andrews was holding the keys to his Audi, according to court records.

When Andrews tried to run away, Ross tackled him and held him with a friend’s help, he said, until deputies arrived, the affidavit states.

After investigators detained Andrews, he reportedly declined to speak with them. At that time, Andrews was also arrested in connection with a Vancouver police investigation. Officers in that case say on April 1, they tried to stop Andrews while he was driving a different stolen Audi. Officers said Andrews sped away from the traffic stop, a probable cause affidavit states.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the date of a Vancouver police investigation. Officers say they tried to stop Andrews April 1.