Authorities have arrested a Chicago man in the Mundelein kidnapping of a 3-year-old girl returned a half-hour later.
Mundelein police Chief Eric Guenther said Jose Reyes, 28, of the 4900 block of West North Avenue in Chicago, was charged with aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping and unlawful restraint.
The girl was taken from outside an apartment complex in the 500 block of Deepwoods Drive about 5:30 p.m. Monday, Guenther said. She was missing for about a half-hour before being dropped off in a nearby parking lot, according to authorities.
Mundelein police said investigators identified the car — a 2007 black four-door Hyundai Accent — from video surveillance cameras, one of which was set up at a private residence.
“It was quite a stroke of luck,” Guenther said.
Officials said the girl’s 9-year-old sister was relatively confident of one of the numbers in the car’s license plate. That, with the photo, helped investigators narrow down the list of possible vehicles, Deputy Chief John Monahan said.
Cynthia Trujillo-Vargas, communications manager for the Lake County state’s attorney, said police checked the possible cars — of which Monahan said there were hundreds — against tickets issued by Mundelein police.
Five such tickets came back, including a speeding ticket issued to Reyes in 2012, Trujillo-Vargas said.
Investigators compared the driver’s license photo of Reyes, the registered owner of the ticketed car, to the sketch, police said. Guenther called the sketch — created with the help of the girl’s 9-year-old sister and another witness — a “wonderful comparison.”
Reyes was arrested late Wednesday night at his job in Libertyville, Guenther said.
Guenther said there was no known relationship between Reyes and the girl or her family.
Trujillo-Vargas said Reyes did not indicate whether he was involved in the kidnapping. He said he was the only one to drive the car that day, she said. Investigators also found that Reyes clocked in to work seven minutes after his scheduled 6 p.m. start time on Monday, she said.
Guenther said Reyes was in court Thursday and is being held on $5 million bail.
Guenther said police were still trying to determine what happened to the girl during the time she was gone.
Police said the girl was coming home from a store with her family when a man grabbed her as her mother walked into their apartment building.
Witnesses told police they might have seen the same man in the area both the day before the kidnapping and earlier the same day handing out candy to children.
Lake County Judge Joseph Salvi ordered Reyes to give a DNA sample after Reyes refused to voluntarily submit one, Trujillo-Vargas said.
She declined to elaborate on what investigators were hoping to test in connection with Reyes’ DNA.
Police said the FBI, the Cook County sheriff’s office, the Lake County state’s attorney’s office and the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory assisted in the investigation.
Trujillo-Vargas said Reyes is due back in court Oct. 10.