The woman in her 30s stopped to buy cakes at Cafe Ameretto on Main Street, Osborne Park about 9.30pm on Friday and left her five-year-old sleeping in the backseat and a 27-year-old male in the passenger seat.
When the woman returned to the street, her car and daughter were gone.
WA Police allege the 27-year-old man got into the driver’s seat while the woman was buying the cake and stole the car.
A witness said the mother was left “very distressed”.
“She was like a lunatic, which I would’ve been as well,” the witness said.
A short time later, police spotted the car driving along Ocean Reef Road, Edgewater, 17km away.
The man stopped at a red light where police were able to intercept the car and arrest him.
He was taken into custody and the little girl, who was unharmed and still in her car seat, was reunited with her mother.
The man has been charged with multiple offenses including driving under the influence and stealing a motor vehicle and person.
He faced court today and will remain in police custody until his next court appearance on Monday.