Mother reunited with children after auto theft kidnapping

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Sunday night, one of Mary Ajajyi’s regular customers entered the Grace Variety Store at 5230 West 10th Street to buy a loaf of bread for her sleeping children outside in the car.

Ajayi said when she told the mother she needed more money for the bread, the woman returned to her car.

“So she open the door to go to the car to get more money and she is like, ‘Where is my car?’” said the shopkeeper. Knowing that her customer’s language skills were limited, Ajayi called police.

“Immediately because she was already confused I took my phone and I called 911.”

Speedway police responded within minutes and, thanks to Ajayi’s translation, were able to broadcast an alert for the missing car and children.

“In less than an hour an IMPD officer out on patrol spotted that vehicle, initiated a traffic stop on that vehicle and we were able to apprehend the suspect,” said Sgt. Jim Thiele of Speedway P.D. “The two children were in the car, fortunately they were unharmed, they were checked out by medics and they were just fine.”

“We were happy, we were hugging each other,” recalled Ajayi. “The mother of the children she was rolling on the ground, she was crying but I am glad the story ended well.”

Police arrested Allen Dryden, 29, who is well known to officers in Speedway and has served several prison sentences for auto theft. He now faces a kidnapping charge.

Thiele said Speedway officers were on the phone with ISP trying to determine if an Amber Alert for the missing children were to be issued.

“I think all parents have dealt with that dilemma at one time or another,” said Thiele, “but we certainly urge people to err on the side of safety as opposed to convenience.”