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Vero Beach Police: DNA Evidence Leads to the Arrest of a Suspect in 7-Month Old Case Involving Theft of a Vehicle With a Baby Inside


Vero Beach - Tuesday April 23, 2024: Vero Beach Police have arrested 29-year-old Tevin Devonte Wallace for Grand Theft Auto in a case that dates back to September of last year when a vehicle with a baby inside was stolen.

According to a release from the Vero Beach Police Department (VBPD), on September 15, 2023, a man parked his car in front of Nitou's Beauty Supply at 1285 16th Street in Vero Beach. He left the car running, and he left his child inside the vehicle as well. The man told police that he went into the store to make a quick purchase but when he came out his car was gone. He called 911.

A 'Be On the Look Out' (BOLO) for bulletin was issued and vehicle tag technology indicted that the vehicle was traveling south on 43rd Avenue and 41st Street.

Vero Beach Police and Indian River County Sheriff Deputies (IRCSO) began searching that area. An Indian River County Sheriff Deputy observed a black male walking quickly down 43rd Avenue and 15th Street and away from the nearby stolen vehicle. The black male was then observed jumping the fence at the Shadowbrook Apartments.

Officers went to the stolen vehicle and found the baby inside, safe and un-harmed. The child was re-united with the father. The officers were unable to locate the suspect, at that time.

However, surveillance video recovered from security cameras along 4200 block of 15th Street captured images of the vehicle and the suspect who is seen in the video wearing a white tank top, blue jeans, and a black and brown hat. A hat matching that description was soon found on the ground within the Shadowbrook Apartment grounds, close to where the suspect was seen jumping the fence.

Images of the suspect from the surveillance video were distributed and several anonymous tipsters identified the suspect as Tevin Devonte Wallace. The Indian River Crime Lab was able to obtain DNA evidence from the hat. Vero Beach Police Detectives got a search warrant to obtain DNA samples from Wallace who was already in custody at the Indian River County Jail on unrelated criminal charges. The Indian River Crime Lab concluded that DNA samples from Wallace matched the DNA evidence from the hat.

On April 9th this year, Vero Beach Police submitted to the State Attorney a request for a warrant to arrest Wallace on kidnapping and Grand Theft Auto charges, but the State Attorney only approved the warrant for a Grand Theft Charge.

Wallace was arrested this past Sunday on the Grand Theft Auto charge and he is now being held on a $25,000 bond.