Volkswagen refused to help police track down a stolen SUV with a toddler trapped in the back until they were paid an unpaid fee for using the vehicle’s tracking device, Illinois cops said.
The car company has since admitted a “serious breach of procedure” for refusing to help officers, who said the foot-dragging led to a “delay” in their efforts to locate the dead, who were eventually recovered safely.
In a statement on Friday, however, the troubled German automaker sought to shift the lion’s share of the blame to another company.
“Volkswagen has established a process with a third-party provider for Car-Net Support Services that includes urgent requests from law enforcement,” a spokesperson told NBC.
“They have performed this procedure successfully in previous incidents. Unfortunately, in this case, there was a serious breach of process. We are dealing with the situation with the parties involved.”
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation into the abducted 2-year-old had stalled thanks to Volkswagen’s reluctance to release vital information.
“Unfortunately, there was a delay as Volkswagen Car-Net did not locate the vehicle with the abducted child until it received payment to reactivate the tracking device on the stolen Volkswagen,” the law enforcement agency said.
It was unclear if the fee was paid before the child was found.
Police said the horrific incident began when the 34-year-old mother walked into her home in Libertyville, a village 40 miles north of Chicago, around 3:30 p.m. after a visit to the pet store.
She had just brought one of her children inside when the thieves began the robbery.
She turned outside to get her toddler out of her Volkswagen Atlas SUV when she caught a man climbing into the passenger side of a white BMW and trying to get into her car.
The unidentified mother tried to fend off the prankster and save her son, but eventually the man overpowered the six-month pregnant woman.
“The attacker hit the woman, knocking her to the ground. He then stole her car with the child inside,” the officers said.
Both cars fled the scene, with one driver chasing the mother as they fled.
The mother called 911 and was rushed to an area hospital with serious injuries. He was treated for a broken pelvis and broken elbow, CBS Chicago reported.
Police said they found the 2-year-old boy after a 911 caller reported seeing the two vehicles abandon “a small child” in the parking lot of a Waukegan business, about 10 miles from where he was abducted.
Officers eventually found the stolen car, but are still looking for the two thieves.
The BMW is described as a 2000s model with a black bumper and a loud exhaust.
Police said the man who hit the pregnant mother is tall and thin and was last seen wearing a gray zip-up hoodie and a light green face mask.
Volkswagen did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.