SANTA ANA – A car with two kids inside was stolen – and then quickly recovered – Tuesday night after a woman left the vehicle running with her children in the back seat, police said.
Police are searching for the man suspected of stealing the car with two boys inside from a Santa Ana neighborhood. The suspect abandoned the vehicle – with the children inside – a little more than a half-mile away about 15 minutes later, Santa Ana police Cmdr. Eric Paulson said.
The mother told police that she left the car with its engine running in the driveway while she went into a home in the 500 block of East Wilshire Avenue. Two boys – a 1-year-old and a 7-year-old – were asleep in the back seat of the vehicle, Paulson said.
The woman told officers that when she came out of the home the car was gone.
A description of the vehicle was immediately sent out to surrounding police agencies, and numerous police units were sent to the neighborhood to aid in the search. Helicopters from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Anaheim Police Department were also requested, and police had begun to talk to the California Highway Patrol about whether the incident merited an Amber Alert.
The search ended about 7:25 p.m. when a witness called police to report that the car had been abandoned in the 1200 bock of South Cypress Avenue. The two boys were found in the vehicle, Paulson said. Neither was injured.
The man suspected of stealing the vehicle was last seen running northbound on Cypress Avenue, Paulson said. A detailed description of the man was not immediately available.
Police said the incident is a reminder to parents to always keep an eye on their kids.
“Don’t leave your children unattended, and certainly never leave your children unattended with the ignition running,” Paulson said.
BY SEAN EMERY / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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