Woman pleads not guilty in theft of SUV with 2 children inside

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-24 22:00:12-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A woman accused of stealing an SUV with two children inside pleaded not guilty Friday in a South Bay courtroom.

Alexis Mattier faces kidnapping and auto theft charges after National City police said she stole a Nissan Rogue parked outside of a gas station store on June 20.

Police said a man pulled up to the convenience store at the Valero gas station on East 8th Street and went inside, leaving the engine running and his two small children inside.

Surveillance video showed Mattier approach the vehicle and look around for three minutes before opening the driver's door and driving away.

Seconds later, the man is seen trying to chase down the Rogue, but police said Mattier was able to drive away.

The man returned to the store and asked someone to call for help.

Police tracked down the Rogue within 10 minutes and arrested Mattier.

The children were safe and reunited with their father after the ordeal.

Deputy District Attorney Julie Lynn is prosecuting three counts -- two counts of kidnapping with the special allegations that the victims were minors under the age of 14 and one count of vehicle theft.

Mattier faces 14 years in prison if convicted.

Judge Patricia Garcia set bail at $1 million.