By Charlie De Mar

Nov. 18 Update: Rudy Gutierrez Charged With Bridgeview Car Theft, Kidnapping Of 4-Year-Old Liam Barbarasa

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (CBS) — Police late Monday night surrounded a van in the Irving Park neighborhood, hours after they said it was stolen miles away in Bridgeview with a 4-year-old boy inside.

READ MORE: Body Found In Illinois River Confirmed To Be Missing Illinois State University Student Jelani Day

The boy, Liam Barbarasa, was found in the van and was taken to Swedish Hospital, Chicago Police said.

An AMBER Alert had been issued Monday night for Liam. He had been in the vehicle outside the 7-Eleven gas station at 79th Street and Roberts Road in Bridgeview when an unknown suspect stole it around 5:37 p.m., police said.

The vehicle had been running at the time, police said.

Liam Barbarasa

(Credit: Illinois State Police)

Police said Liam was left in the car as his dad ran into 7-Eleven for food. When Liam’s father came out, the car was gone.

Bridgeview police Cmdr. David Case said the stolen 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette had been spotted early in the 7 p.m. hour near Marquette Park on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

Witnesses said just before 10 p.m., the vehicle was found several miles away at Pulaski Road and Belle Plaine Avenue. Liam was inside and was taken to Swedish Hospital to be checked out, police said.

The AMBER Alert was canceled.

At a news conference before Liam was found, his mother, Maria Barbarasa, had earlier said she would not look to have the auto thief charged or prosecuted if Liam were brought back safely.

READ MORE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Sets Goal To Get 77% Of Eligible Chicagoans Vaccinated By End Of The Year

Maria Barbarasa said Liam was playing with his sister just an hour earlier on toboggan sleds, and the 2-year-old sister was at home waiting for him Monday night.

She said Liam loves cars and trains and has a lot of energy, and loves to be outside.

“He’s a sweet, sweet boy. He’s very shy, so he’s scared of strangers; people he doesn’t know. So I’m praying, praying that he’s in the car, safe sleeping, and that I’ll see him very soon. I have no ill feelings. I know life is hard, and I really, really – whatever happened happened, I don’t care I just need my boy back,” Maria Barbarasa said. “I know you probably didn’t realize that he was in there, and that’s OK.”

The investigation continued late Monday.

Also From CBS Chicago:

MORE NEWS: Mass Shooting Inside Kroger Grocery Near Memphis, Tenn.


Charlie De Mar