OKLAHOMA CITY – Authorities say a man who is accused of stealing a woman’s SUV with her two young children inside is still behind bars.
Online records show that James Acosta has not bonded out of the Oklahoma County Jail yet after he was arrested on Wednesday night on two counts of kidnapping and one count of larceny of a motor vehicle.
Business owners in the area where the alleged carjacking took place tell News 4 that Acosta is well-known to many of them.
“He’s a regular customer. He’s never been weird or anything,” KwikRun manager Latoya Williams said. “He comes in all the time, he’s very kind, so it was really surprising to see him on the news.”
Kathy Montoya owns a bakery just two buildings down from the clinic where the alleged crime took place. She says she used to see Acosta frequently but hasn’t seen him lately.
“We’ve seen him walking around the neighborhood quite a lot. We used to sell beer, but we quit selling beer, last September or October, and I’ve really not seen him since,” Montoya told News 4. “Since we quit selling beer, he doesn’t come in anymore.”
According to Acosta’s arrest record, he has two separate burglary charges from 2006, an unauthorized use of a vehicle and larceny of a vehicle charge in 2011, and an embezzlement conviction in 2017.
“I was surprised honestly because he doesn’t strike me as like a bad person,” Williams said. “I don’t know him personally, but I came up here when the situation was going on, and to find out it was him I was a little bit shocked.”
Willams says this was a scary situation, but she says it could have been avoided.
“My oldest is 10, and I have never left my kids. It is a little bit extra work to take them out, but that`s what you gotta do,” Williams said. “You can`t leave them in the car in the heat and you can’t leave them in it running. Obviously, you see right now, that`s what happens.”
News 4 did request body camera video from the Oklahoma City Police Department. We’re told it should be available sometime next week. The parents of the two children that were taken said they are glad their kids are safe, and they want to put all of this behind them.