Good Samaritan helps tackle kidnapping suspect, says he wanted to 'do the right thing'

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Police say a man and woman have been arrested after a 2-year-old girl was kidnapped in the parking lot of a Phoenix grocery store.

According to the Phoenix Police Department, a 60-year-old man was in the parking lot near 43rd Avenue and McDowell Road on March 11 when he was approached by 25-year-old Cynthia Danielle Gracia, who asked him for money.

While Gracia distracted the man, 26-year-old Joe Velazquez jumped into the car and drove away with the man's 2-year-old granddaughter inside.

Police say several witnesses followed the suspects to an area near Seventh Avenue and Washington Street, where the suspects abandoned the car and tried to run away.

"I hear a couple guys screaming 'he tried to steal the baby, he tried to steal the baby'," said Ernaldo Varella. "I look, and I see the guy and the female running to the house and get away. So I took off."

Varella's instinct was to get out and help, but he certainly got more than he bargained for.

"Finally, I see he pulls it out. It looks like a knife. A box cutter, so that's when I reach over the wall and grab him and bang him against the wall a couple of times, as much as I could," said Varella, who ended up pinning Velasquez long enough for police to arrive and arrest him. The 2-year-old girl was not hurt.

Varella insists that he's not a hero, and that it was just a natural reaction to get out, and do the right thing.

"I wasn't really thinking about getting hurt, I just wanted to get this guy," said Varella. "The only thing that was going through my head was that he had tried to take a baby, tried to take a baby. I have two baby girls. No way I can let that pass."