CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is searching for two men who they say stole a woman's car from a south Charlotte QuikTrip store after she left the vehicle running and unlocked with her 2-year-old daughter inside.
The incident happened at 11:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4 at the QuikTrip located at 7115 South Boulevard.
"Said I have to run in, use the money machine inside really quick. Went in, left her child in the car, came back out and the car was missing and the child," said Lt. Brad Koch with CMPD.
According to police, the vehicle, a Ford Focus, was left running and unlocked and the woman's 2-year-old child was left alone while the woman went into the store. While she was inside the store, two men stole the woman's car with the child still inside.
Police said the child's father responded from a nearby location and spotted the stolen car and began following it. The two suspects abandoned the car near the intersection of Arrowood Road at South Boulevard, a very short distance away from where the theft took place.
"She called him and he responded. He saw the car and followed it for a short distance. Two young men got out running," said Koch.
The two men ran away from the scene and have not been located, police said. The 2-year-old little girl was located inside the vehicle and is OK. She was reunited with her parents.
CMPD said the child's mother was issued a ticket for misdemeanor child neglect for leaving her daughter unattended in the running vehicle. They would also like to remind the public that it is illegal to leave a running vehicle unattended.
"There are several possible charges here. First, there's a city ordinance about leaving your vehicle running. Plus, misdemeanor child neglect charges by failing to properly look after your kid," said Koch.
CMPD says vehicle thefts are up in Charlotte. A third of them, the owner left the keys inside the car. The situation gets dramatically worse - of course - when someone you love is kidnapped inside.
"Regardless of how inconvenient it is to take them out of your car seat and bring them in the store, if you need to leave the car, take your children with you," said Lt. Koch.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.