An unthinkable outcome was avoided after a woman left her two young children in her car while she ran into a Passaic bodega on Wednesday, authorities said.
The youngsters -- ages 5 and 7 -- were in the back seat when a local drug user who apparently was under the influence entered the Mercedes Benz E350, parked outside the Jeffrey Mini Market on Main Avenue, off Harrison Street, police said.
Emerging from the store to find him rummaging through her car, the woman screamed before he could drive off, Mayor Hector Carlos Lora said.
A good Samaritan who was driving by got out and chased the 29-year-old intruder, Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Schaer said.
He pointed the suspect out to responding police officers who arrested him on burglary and attempted theft charges, as well as for violating Gov. Phil Murphy's coronavirus emergency lockdown order, Schaer said.
The man was taken to St. Mary's General Hospital in Passaic with an undisclosed medical condition, the deputy chief said.
With motor vehicle thefts soaring, authorities continue to urge all drivers to never leave their cars unlocked and unattended, no matter the circumstance.
And don't leave your keys, key fobs -- or young children -- inside.
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