PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was an emotional return Thursday night as a mother was reunited with her 2-year-old son who was inside a car that was stolen from a Philadelphia gas station.
Police say the 29-year-old mother ran inside the gas station while the child slept in the back seat. In that short amount of time, someone jumped in the car and stole it.
It happened at the Sunoco station at Ogontz and Bellfield Avenues in Logan.
The boy was later found unharmed a few blocks away.
“Just before 6 p.m., 35th District police responded to a report of a stolen car with a 2-year-old child inside,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.
Surveillance video from the gas station shows the moment that the suspect hopped into the running car and sped off, into traffic.
“When she come inside to pay for the gas, the kid sees the car is running and he just jumps and [takes] off,” Sunil Kumar, the manager of the gas station, said.
“The person who stole the car probably did not know there was a 2-year-old boy sleeping in the back seat,” Small said. “The 2-year-old, according to the mother, is nonverbal and the 2-year-old was sleeping at the time. So the person who stole this car isn’t going to hear the 2-year-old wake up and talk because he’s nonverbal.”
Once the suspect realized there was a child in the car a half-mile away, police say he dropped him off and neighbors there alerted police of an abandoned child.
“We found the child around a half-mile away at 17th and Portland,” Small said. “Police got information that there was a child walking around alone that fit the description. When police went to that location, brought the child back to the mother.”
Police then brought the toddler back to the gas station where he was reunited with his mother.
“It’s a happy ending,” Small said. “Mom is fine. Very shaken up, but she did a great job providing us with information. License plate to the vehicle. There was unique damage to the vehicle so that really helped us, but we’re still looking for the vehicle.”
At this hour, the worst of the situation is that the car remains stolen.