From our sister site The Waterland Blog:
At a first appearance hearing on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 4, 2022, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office argued that Johnathan Mamel Cruz, 24 – suspected of being involved in stealing a car with a baby inside in Des Moines – is a danger to the public and should be held in jail on $300,000 bail.
Cruz is charged with stealing a vehicle with a baby still inside on Sunday, July 24, at a gas station located in the 23800 block of Pacific Highway S. (read our previous coverage here).
Prior to this kidnapping incident, King County prosecutors filed a separate felony case – and Cruz was released over prosecutors’ objection.
When Cruz failed to follow the terms of his release on a judge’s order, prosecutors made a motion for a warrant, which was active at the time of his arrest Monday in the kidnapping and vehicle theft investigation.
Cruz remains in jail following prosecutors argument to hold him, and we anticipate getting the documents required for an immediate felony charging decision from police later the week.
Prosecutors say the defendant’s actions in this case are alarming.
“This repeat offender has now escalated his criminal behavior to the kidnapping (of) a 6-month-old infant,” charing documents say. “Prior to stealing the car containing the 6-month-old baby, the defendant is observed on surveillance approaching the vehicle and pressing his face against the rear driver’s side window as he stared inside the vehicle. The view from that window would have caused him to be staring directly at the infant asleep in her car seat. Despite seeing the sleeping infant, the defendant decided to follow through with his vehicle theft and drove the car for several miles before leaving it on the side of the road.
“Even more shocking is the fact that the defendant left this helpless 6-month-old baby trapped in the backseat of an extremely hot the car, with the windows rolled up, with no air circulating on a July day where the temperatures reached over 80 degrees. Had the police not acted so quickly and located the baby, the 6-month-old infant would have likely died.
“The defendant is a danger to the community and his indifference to the life of this young infant is frightening.”
Cruz is currently pending trial for 16 charges under 11 different cause numbers across 4 different jurisdictions, to include a pending Possession of a Stolen Vehicle charge out of King County Superior Court from March of 2022.
“Despite the Court’s repeated admonitions to commit no further law violations, the defendant continues to reoffend.”
He has the following criminal convictions: Attempted Taking a Vehicle without Permission 2 (2011); Residential Burglary (2013) x2; Escape 3 (2013); Robbery 2 (2014); Theft 1 (2019); Weapons Capable of Producing Harm (2019); Theft 3 (2020); Assault 3 (2020); Vehicle Prowling 2 (2020); Assault 4 – DV (2020); Criminal Trespass 1 (2017); Obstruction (2018); Theft 3 (2018) x3; Making a False Statement (2018); Criminal Trespass 2 (2018); Criminal Trespass 1 (2018 x3; Theft 3 (2019) x2; Harassment (2019); Theft 3 (2019); Criminal Trespass 1 (2020); and Theft 3 (2020) x3.
Cruz has had at least 55 bench warrants issued for failure to appear since 2017, and currently has eleven active warrants.
“The defendant has demonstrated that he is either unwilling or unable to abstain from committing crimes,” prosecutors say. “Bail in the amount of $300,000 is necessary in order to protect the community from the defendant’s repeated and rampant criminal behavior.”