A brother and sister
duo from Anderson County was arrested in Oneida
Wednesday after allegedly stealing a car Tuesday night with two small
According to the Oneida Police Department’s Facebook page, the incident began at around 6 pm Tuesday when a woman called 911 to report that her car, with her 2- and 5-year-old children inside, had been stolen by a man and a woman.
The woman said she had gone inside the Mi Rancho Mexican restaurant on Second Avenue to pick up her to-go order, leaving the children in the car to minimize possible expsoure to the COVID-19 coronavirus, and when she came back out saw a woman later identified as Amanda J. Phillips in the driver’s seat. The mother tried to pull Phillips out of the driver’s seat, telling her there were children inside, which resulted in Phillips “looking at her and laughing” in her face, before trying to pull out of the parking lot.
As the car started to leave the business, Phillips briefly stopped the car and yelled at her male accomplice, later identified as her brother, Brandon Cody Phillips, to get in, which he did. The mother grabbed the door handle, and according to the police report, was dragged some 30 to 50 yards before the door handle came off, and the pair drove away with the children inside.
The mother “pinged” her child’s tablet and got an exact location for the vehicle, which officers found abandoned on Bilbrey Street. The two children were found, unharmed, inside the car and the five-year-old was able to point officers in the direction that the thieves had gone when they ditched the car.
Oneida police officers and firefighters, along with deputies from the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, saturated the area and searched for the suspects. Coming up empty in their search, investigators took to Facebook, and quickly received information that a local business owner’s surveillance cameras had recorded the pair running in the area. That, along with the fact Amanda Phillips had dropped her cell phone in the car, helped track down the suspects. While at the police station, the phone rang and the caller told officers it belonged to Amanda Phillips, and using that information, confirmed that she was from Anderson County. The security footage was shared with Sergeant Max Smith at the Clinton Police Department and investigators here quickly identified both of the Phillips from the photos.
Tips from a concerned citizen eventually led to the pair being arrested while walking down Main Street. Both were arrested without incident and Amanda Phillips, according to the report, admitted to stealing the car with the kids inside. Both were charged with two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated child endangerment, and one count each of theft over $10,000 and aggravated assault. Officers say that more charges could be filed as the investigation continues.