UPDATE: Police Arrest Thief Who Stole Car With Kids In It

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UPDATE 3/24/09: Tuesday afternoon in Tukwila, King County Sheriff’s detectives arrested the man they believe stole a car with two young children in it.

Here’s their release:

The suspect who Sheriff’s Office detectives believe stole a car with two toddlers strapped in the back seat was arrested this afternoon shortly before 2:30 PM. The arrest occurred at an apartment in Tukwila. The arrest was uneventful.

The kidnapping incident occurred last night (Monday March 23rd) about 7:00 PM in the Top Hat neighborhood of Burien.

Detectives believe the suspect was loitering at the Oasis 76 Station, 11249 – 1st Ave South last evening. A man went into the station to buy cigarettes, but left his 2005 Jeep Cherokee outside with the doors unlocked and the engine running, just outside of the entrance doors.

The man’s 1½ year-old daughter and 3 year-old niece were inside the vehicle. The father/uncle saw the suspect get into the car and start to drive away. He ran to the car and pulled open the driver’s door, yelling “My kids, my kids”, but the suspect pushed him out of the doorway and drove off. The dad gave chase on foot but to no avail. He returned to the store and called 9-1-1.

As Sheriff’s deputies were taking the report and notifying adjacent police agencies, the Jeep Cherokee pulled into the Albertson’s parking lot, 15840 – 1st Avenue South, at a high rate of speed and honking the horn. The driver was yelling out the window “help me…help me” and when a patron approached the car he handed off both kids and took off quickly.

Suspecting something might be amiss, the customers called 9-1-1 and the connection was made. Families were reunited shortly thereafter.

An alert Sheriff’s sergeant located the stolen vehicle about 11:30 PM in a Tukwila parking lot.

The suspect arrested today is a convicted felon and on Active Supervision with the Dept. of Corrections. He was released from King County Jail on March 18th after an arrest on an Obstruction charge.

The suspect will be booked into the King County Jail later today for Investigation of Kidnapping and Investigation of Theft.

PREVIOUSLY: The Seattle Times is reporting that a Jeep was stolen Monday night in White Center, with two very young children still inside. The kids were later dropped off by the thief at the Burien Albertson’s on First Ave near SW 160th.

According to the Times, someone left their kids in their idling Jeep near South 112th Street and First Avenue South in White Center just before 7pm, and a thief jumped in and drove off.

He then dropped the two girls at the Albertson’s three miles south in Burien, telling a witness that it was “an emergency.”

Police later found the Jeep at about 11:30pm, abandoned in Tukwila.

Read the full story here.

And if you’re a parent who drives your kids around, please don’t leave your children unattended in a car, whether it’s running or not!

“If you take your keys, take your kids!”

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