A child left in the backseat of a running SUV in Woodbridge, Virginia, is safe after a thief took off in the vehicle, police say.
A 31-year-old woman told police she left her sleeping 2-year-old child in the backseat of her Toyota SUV while she quickly went into a store in the 13400 block of Jefferson Davis Highway on Saturday afternoon. The SUV was unlocked and running, according to Prince William County police.
Not long after entering the store, the mother watched someone driving off in her vehicle with her child still inside, police said.
Patrol officers in the area were able to recover the vehicle and the child shortly after it was stolen. The child was unharmed.
The suspect fled the scene before officers could find the vehicle.
Police said the suspect stole money from the vehicle, but did not say how much was stolen.
The suspect was last seen wearing a white t-shirt with an image on the front, blue jeans and a pair of gray and white New Balance sneakers, police said.
KidsAndCars.org said in a news release that the incident marks the second child this year who was left in a vehicle stolen in the D.C. region. Nationwide, the organization has documented 47 cases of the same situation.
According to KidsAndCars.org, thieves target vehicles with keys still left in the ignition without noticing there is still a child inside.
“Children and pets should never be left alone inside of a vehicle, not even for a minute,” the release said. “It only takes a few seconds for a car thief to jump into a vehicle and be gone, even in the safest neighborhoods.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the car theft and abduction to call (703) 792-7000.