BRAINTREE – Police today credited the Amber Alert system with the quick recovery of two children who were allegedly kidnapped from a foster home here Monday by their father, who did not have custody rights.
Braintree Police Chief Russell Jenkins said the father, Jon T. Lockwood, is in custody in Connecticut and will be charged with parental kidnapping once he is returned to Massachusetts.
Lockwood appeared in a Manchester, Conn., courtroom today where bond was set at $250,00o0 cash on a charge of being a fugitive from justice. He refused to return to Massachusetts. A new court date was set for June 20, according to court records.
Jenkins said the use of the Amber Alert was critical in ending the kidnapping case, which began around 4:30 p.m. when Lockwood allegedly forced his way inside a home where the children were living with a state Department of Children and Families foster family.
Lockwood allegedly forced the children into his car, a 2005 brown BMW 525i, and then drove away. Shortly before midnight, a trucker spotted the BMW and alerted Connecticut police, who took Lockwood into custody and recovered the children shortly before midnight.
The children were unharmed, officials said.
“It’s a pretty remarkable success story for Amber Alert,’’ Jenkins said.
According to State Police spokesman David Procopio, the first public appeal for help under the Amber Alert system was made around 9:30 p.m. He said Braintree police asked for the Amber Alert system to be used at 5:45 p.m. State Police then reviewed the information to make sure details were available of who had been kidnapped, who was being sought, and what kind of car was being targeted. They also wanted to make sure Lockwood posed a threat to the children before using Amber Alert, Procopio said.
“The system worked superbly,’’ Procopio said.
The 54-year-old Lockwood is charged with kidnapping his 8-year-old son, Patrick, and 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, police said.
Jenkins said he did not know which court issued the order, but he said that Lockwood had lost his parental rights.
“The whole thing has been a recent development,’’ Jenkins said. “The custody issue has been in the courts recently. The father doesn’t have any parental rights to the children.’’
According to Connecticut State Police, the trucker from Pennsylvania made a 911 call and reported seeing the BMW on Interstate 84 westbound near Exit 65 in Vernon. As troopers rushed to the area, the truck driver followed the BMW as Lockwood drove off the interstate at Exit 62 in Manchester.
Troopers then spotted the BMW parked in the lot of a 7-Eleven store located near the intersections of Route 30 and Pleasant Valley Road in South Windsor. Lockwood was arrested as he left the restroom in the store.
The children were still in the car, hidden under blankets and pillows, police said.
Connecticut State Police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance said there were signs inside the car tht Lockwood had planned for a long journey.
“There were foodstuffs, sleeping bags, and pillows, which was indicative of long drive or trip,’’ said Vance, adding that that Lockwood was taken into custody without incident and had no weapons with him.
Vance said the children were in “fine shape” and were returned to the Massachusetts State Police Monday night. “The Amber Alert worked,’’ Vance said.
When he was booked in Connecticut, Lockwood told police he lived in Las Vegas. Jenkins on Monday said Lockwood had been living in a Foxborough motel, and did not have a permanent Massachusetts address.
Foxborough police said Lockwood had been living at America’s Best Value Inn on Route 1 but checked out Sunday night.
Jenkins said the children’s mother is out of the country, but he declined to be more specific.
The Department of Children and Families took custody of the children in January 2012 after receiving a report alleging neglect of the children by their father, a department spokeswoman said in a statement.
“Since that time, both children have been in foster care, together, and maintained regular contact with their father through supervised visits away from the foster home that included police monitoring. We are grateful to local and state authorities and the public for their assistance in ensuring the safe return of the children,” said Cayenne Isaksen.
She said the children remain in the custody of the department.Brian Ballou can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @globeballou. John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.