Florida inmates used their “skill set” to break into a vehicle and help free a one-year-old child who was locked in the backseat of an SUV late last week.
Authorities responded to a call for a child locked inside an SUV in the parking lot at a New Port Richey courthouse on Thursday.
Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement officers arrived to find the child sitting in a car seat and “appeared to be comfortable,” noting the outside temperature was about 13C.
“Several minutes went by as the parents could not enter the SUV successfully,” the sheriff’s office said.
The parents of the child told responding officers they could not afford a locksmith so the father was going to smash the driver’s side window.
However, an inmate officer and five low-risk offenders were repairing a parking lot median nearby and offered assistance, according to NBC 2 News.
Video shows the group of inmates and at least three officers surrounding the vehicle, while the prisoners try to pry the driver’s side door just enough for one inmate to use a coat hanger to push the electronic locking button.
“Our trustees are people who have made mistakes, we’re trying to rehabilitate them to get back into society,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told NBC 2 News. “A lot of them, like these individuals, they know they made bad mistakes, bad choices, but they want to do the right thing in life.”
The group managed to get the child out of the vehicle unharmed.
The sheriff told the news station the inmates’ “skill set” came in handy, adding that “only when a deputy is around and we give permission can you break into” a vehicle.