Police in West Orange stole a car driven by a man with a child in it, but abandoned the car after realizing a four-year-old child was in the back seat.
Officers responded to Columbia Street in West Orange around 12:12 p.m. Wednesday.
The mother told police she left the car running with her child in the back seat when she came across Jimmy Buff’s West Orange Italian Hot Dog.
Police said the vehicle was quickly recovered from about a block away. The child was safe and there were no injuries. Her mother refused treatment for her and her child.
The suspect was last seen walking south on Columbia Street toward Watching Avenue.
He is described as being 5 feet 5 inches tall, with short hair, and wearing a T-shirt with an unidentifiable graphic or logo.
Police continue to investigate and say it’s important to remember a few things to prevent a situation like this from happening again.
“Don’t leave your car unlocked with children in it, especially when the car is running,” says Deputy Chief Michael Kieger. “Things like kidnappings, carjackings, etc. can happen, but luckily this is a good turnout. It could have been disastrous.”
Car thefts and robberies have increased in New Jersey over the past year. Officials in West Orange hosted a meeting with some state lawmakers on Thursday to call for a crackdown on vehicular crime and tougher penalties.
Anyone who may have information regarding this particular crime is encouraged to contact the West Orange Police Department.