MIAMI COUNTY — The man who stole a car with a child inside from a Troy gas station last December was sentenced to serve three years in prison in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Monday.
James Hatmaker, 42, of Dayton, waived his right to a grand jury and entered a plea of guilty to third-degree felony attempted kidnapping and fourth-degree grand theft auto last month. He previously was charged with second-degree felony kidnapping.
“The child could have been hurt,” said Judge Jeannine Pratt.
Hatmaker will serve a mandatory three years of post-release control.
Hatmaker told the court he stole the car “out of desperation.” He also said once he realized there was a child inside he “tried to make a bad situation the best I could.”
Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Paul Watkins said Hatmaker dumped the vehicle and took another car and didn’t care about the welfare of the child inside. Watkins requested a prison sentence.
Hatmaker is now registered as a violent offender due to the new Ohio law effective March 20. The Violent Offender Database only impacts felons of violent crimes and those who have been convicted after March 20. The registry is not public and can be accessed by law enforcement officials. Hatmaker must register his address with the sheriff’s office for 10 years.
Hatmaker stole a car from Big Mike’s BP on Archer Drive on Dec. 5, 2018, moments before the 2-year-old child’s mother walked outside and discovered her car and her baby were gone. The 38-year-old mother of the child said she went into the gas station to buy cigarettes, but left her car running with her child inside. When she returned to the parking lot, her black Nissan vehicle was gone.
“I ran in there for two seconds,” the mother stated to the 9-1-1 dispatcher.
Shortly after the theft, a Tipp City man called 911 and reported his wife’s car had been stolen and the car with the baby inside was in his driveway.
“My wife went out to start her car, there’s a car in my driveway with a baby in it, and her car’s gone,” he said in a 911 call.
Hatmaker was arrested Dec. 7 in Montgomery County. He was granted 100 days of jail credit.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org
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