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Baby Inside Car Stolen From Morgan Hill Found Safe In Salinas

MORGAN HILL (KCBS / CBS 5) – Authorities said a missing baby girl, who was in the backseat of a car stolen from a Morgan Hill church parking lot on Tuesday afternoon, was found in the Salinas area several hours later.

A police official told KCBS radio that it appeared the girl was "fine."

Relatives told CBS 5 that the girl was found along with the car and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. At the rural scene, California Highway Patrol officers cordoned off a wide area around the vehicle - but offered no further details.

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

The CHP had issued a state-wide Amber Alert after the white 1991 Infiniti Q45 with California license plate number 5XJW448 was stolen from the St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church parking lot, at 17400 Peak Avenue in Morgan Hill, shortly before 2 p.m.

The girl inside the car, Mariana Corona, was described as a 1-month-old Hispanic toddler wearing flowery pajamas.

"Her mother had gone to the food bank at St. Catherine's and ran in for five minutes," said Morgan Hill Police Capt. Joe Sampson. "She left the girl in the car seat (with the keys still inside) and when she came out, the vehicle was gone."

Sampson told the San Jose Mercury News that investigators think the vehicle, and not the child, was the target and that the thief may not have immediately realized Mariana was inside. The abandoned car is being examined for clues, but no suspects have been apprehended.

"We believe it was a crime of opportunity. Someone walked by, saw the keys and said to themselves, 'Here is an opportunity for a joyride,'" Sampson said.

Sampson said the baby was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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