Man charged in attempted car theft at Falls Township gas station

- Police in Bucks County have identified a man they say attempted to steal a vehicle from a gas station with a child still inside.

Donald Darnell, 31, is facing a number of charges after police say he got into an SUV while the owner was pumping gas and attempted to drive off.

The incident occurred around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning on the 8000 block of New Falls Road.

Police say a woman was pumping gas into her car with her 10-year-old son in the back seat when Darnell approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. That’s when Darnell allegedly got into the driver’s seat, put the car in drive and started to drive away.

At that time, the woman opened the passenger door and grabbed Darnell by his sweatshirt, yelling at him that her son was in the car. Darnell then got out of the SUV and ran towards Levittown’s Birch Valley section, leaving behind an empty bottle of Gatorade in the car.

Police then released information about the incident, including surveillance video, on social media leading to numerous tips.  

Officers later caught up with Darnell on the unit block of Blue Spruce Lane in Birch Valley. Police say Darnell had admitted to getting into the car and trying to steal it, and said he was not aware the child was in the car until the mother yelled at him.

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