A 6-year-old who was sleeping in the back of a running car when it was stolen is OK after the vehicle was found within minutes in Newark, police said.
A woman left a 2018 Honda Accord idling when she went to drop off a package in East Orange around 10 p.m. Thursday. A thief jumped inside the car and took off, police said.
Possibly after realizing there was a child in the car, the thief abandoned it a few blocks away at Hawthorne Avenue and South 20th Street in Newark. The suspect was seen running down Fabyan Place.
Police in Newark recovered the car and the boy -- who was still sleeping.
Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said the incident serves as a stark reminder to residents not to leave their vehicles running unattended.
“More than 25 percent of our auto thefts happen when people leave their cars running to go into a convenience store, lock their gates, drop off mail, or any other little errand that they think ‘will only take a minute,’” Ambrose said. “Well, in a matter of seconds their car can be gone.”
So far this year, 219 cars left running were stolen with their owners just a few feet away.
The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information can call the department’s 24-hour Crime Stopper tip line at 1-877-NWK-TIPS (1-877-695-8477) or 1-877-NWK-GUNS (1-877-695-4867). All anonymous Crime Stopper tips are kept confidential and could result in a reward.
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