A man drove from a Broward IHOP with a child. Neither the car nor kid were his, BSO says

A mother told Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies she came out of an Oakland Park IHOP Saturday morning to find her car — and the 3-year-old son she left inside — were stolen. BSO’s looking for the man they say drove off with car and child.

The agency says that’s 33-year-old Phillip Pepe, who online court records say was arrested Thursday on drug charges as well as a driving with a suspended license charge. Now, he’s wanted on charges of kidnapping, grand theft auto and false imprisonment of a child.

BSO says Pepe has a right arm tattoo and an abrasion under the left eye. Online court records from the arrest say he stands about 5-foot-7 and weighs 156 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. His address on the arrest is “at large,” but is listed as Lake Worth on a July 2022 traffic violation.

Phillip Pepe Broward Sheriff's Office
Phillip Pepe Broward Sheriff's Office

According to BSO, deputies were summoned to the IHOP at 3101 W. Oakland Park Blvd. around 8 a.m. after a mother said she went into the IHOP and came out to find car and kid gone.


BSO found both, child not harmed, at 1901 NW 40th Ave. The car had been abandoned. Despite a perimeter with helicopter and dog help, they didn’t find the car thief.

They later identified the suspect as Pepe, a native of Delaware. Pepe got arrested Thursday on cocaine possession, oxycodone possession, drug paraphernalia, resisting an officer and driving without a license charges.

Anyone who knows where Pepe is can call BSO SVU Det. Michael Sgro at 954-321-4256. Those who wish to pass along information while remaining anonymous can contact Broward Crime Stoppers online, 954-493-8477 (TIPS) or **8477 from any cellphone in the United States.