Three children in Texas are safe after being inadvertently kidnapped when a man stole an idling vehicle from a gas station in Houston.
Surveillance footage caught the impromptu vehicle-cum-child theft. A man in a grey hoodie jumps out of one car and into a woman’s running CRV before darting off in the compact Honda SUV–apparently unaware he’s got the woman’s kids in tow.
Corena Thomas, the mother in question, told the local ABC affiliate that she “instantly freaked out” when she realized what had happened. She said the kids were asleep in the car when she ran into the store–and that the whole process of jumping out of the car and swiftly though briefly losing her children took only two minutes.
The Houston Police Department responded to the incident–initially called in as a vehicle theft–outside of a Shell service station at around 2:30 a.m.
Luckily, for everyone involved from that point forward, the children–aged 4, 7, and 8–were discovered roughly two hours later just outside of a strip mall.
According to police, a maintenance worker caught sight of the parked vehicle full of sleeping children as he was outside cleaning. The worker then rushed over to alert a nearby cop who was searching the strip mall itself. The officer was then able to identify both the missing car and the children inside of it.
The children were verifiably unharmed–after undergoing a quick check-up by medical personnel with the Houston Fire Department as they were being returned to their mother. Now, Corena Thomas is just happy to have her kids back. She said, “As soon as they called me I rushed up here right away to make sure they’re okay. I just want my kids.”
The suspect has yet to be located.
[image via screengrab]