An Amber Alert that appeared Wednesday on cellphones across the Twin Cities, accompanied by an impossible-to-ignore screech, was intended to help locate a young child abducted from his Minneapolis home earlier in the day, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It worked. A teenager who received the alert, which described the car used in the abduction, notified police on Wednesday afternoon. This led Minneapolis police officers to track down the auto — and 8-month-old Carlos Orozco, who was in the basement of a nearby home. A suspect was arrested outside the residence.
It was the first time nationwide that such a phone alert, part of the federal Wireless Emergency Alert system, led directly to the recovery of a kidnapped child, says the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Users receive such alerts automatically, provided they have a newer phone, or an older handset with an up-to-date-operating system. The alerts look like text messages, but users aren’t charged, and are accompanied by a unique ringtone and vibration.