This past Wednesday, a manhunt was launched in Margate after a car was stolen outside of a post office. According to the official report from the Margate Police spokesperson, Sgt. Lorie Eller, the incident began when Elizabeth Marchand drove her 2016 BMW X1 to the post office located at 5094 Coconut Creek Parkway. Inside the vehicle with the woman was her 9-month-old child. Marchand parked her car, which possessed government license plates, outside of the post office and exited the vehicle. She left her child in the car. At this time, the 17-year-old Alex Exantus, a North Lauderdale resident, approached the vehicle and, finding the doors unlocked, entered the car. It is not clear whether or not Marchand had left the BMW running or if Exantus found a set of keys within the vehicle, but either way he was able to drive the car away.
Marchand saw that her car and child were being stolen and immediately called 9-1-1. A live news coverage of the story included details of the car as well as pictures. It was this coverage that alerted residents of an unidentified apartment complex located close to the Florida Turnpike and McNab Road to the fact that a BMW parked in the complex’s lot looked remarkably similar to the stolen vehicle. According to the report, a call was made to the police from the apartment complex that indicated the car was left on and the child still inside.
When authorities arrived with paramedics, they first ascertained that the unwittingly kidnapped child was indeed alive and well. Both of the child’s parents arrived at the scene shortly afterward and regained possession of both the child and the car.
The precise details around the apprehension of Exantus are not clear, however it appears that he was located within or nearby the apartment complex (where he is not believed to be a resident). Already this year Exantus has been arrested four times, and the authorities in South Florida have decided that in this particular case the 17-year-old will be tried as an adult.
Florida law prohibits the leaving of a child under 6 being left unattended in a vehicle for any amount of time, although it is not yet clear whether or not the state will press charges against Elizabeth Marchand.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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