Thomas Hargroves

A wanted criminal escaped authorities yesterday by leaving an innocent child alone in a stroller.

On Nov. 12, shortly after 10:30 a.m., deputies were informed that Thomas Hargroves Jr., 41, was seen in a Houma neighborhood.

Hargroves is a wanted suspect on charges of criminal damage to property, obstruction of justice and failure to appear in court.

At around 10:42 a.m., a deputy spotted Hargroves on Vicari Street near St. Patrick wheeling a baby stroller.

When he saw the deputy, the suspect ran, leaving the stroller and its infant behind.

The deputy had to choose between pursuing the suspect or staying and protecting the baby.

He chose to protect the baby, and Hargroves remains on the run after fleeing into a wooded area.

Because of the incident, authorities have added charges of child abandonment and resisting an officer to his list of offenses.

The mother of the child came to the scene and the child was returned to her care with a warning.

“Our deputies did the right thing by protecting that baby first,” Sheriff Jerry Larpenter said. “He can run but he can’t hide and I have no doubt our deputies will find him.”

Persons who may know of Hargraves’ whereabouts are asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (985) 876-2500 or Bayou Region Crime Stoppers at 1-800-743-7433.

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