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Police question girl's relatives in stolen vehicle case

The house on Carmans Avenue in Massapequa where

The house on Carmans Avenue in Massapequa where a stolen car crashed into the garage during a police chase Monday. (Jan. 12, 2010) Credit: John Dunn

Police last night were interviewing relatives of a 4-year-old girl found in the back of a stolen car for clues about where to find the car's driver and passenger, who remained on the run.

The two suspects, who police said were driving a 2008 Hyundai reported stolen in September, were chased by police Monday afternoon after officers tried to pull them over on Carmans Road in Massapequa.

The driver lost control of the car and crashed into a garage. He and the passenger fled on foot, leaving the child in the backseat. No one was hurt, though the car was seriously damaged, police said.

"It's despicable behavior," Nassau police spokesman Kevin Smith said. "They clearly did put her life in danger."

Police said the girl had been in her mother's custody until her mother was arrested over the weekend on a third-time drunken driving offense.

They did not know what the girl's relationship is to the men in the car, but believe she knew them because her relatives seemed to know she was in police custody even before they were notified of her whereabouts.

The child was released late Tuesday into the custody of a relative, who police did not name.

Smith said police cordoned off the area after the men fled, searching it with police dogs and helicopters. He said it is likely that the men live in or are familiar with the area and were able to find someone to hide them.

Smith said police will question the girl's relatives to see if they know the identities of the men in the car.

With John Valenti

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