It was a gruelling two-hour wait yesterday evening, but the parents of a two-month-old baby boy found safe after their van was stolen with him inside are finally breathing a sigh of relief.
Not much is known yet about the motive or the thief in last night's incident, but a family in Toronto's north end are no longer living through every parent's worst nightmare. Around 7:40 p.m. yesterday evening, Toronto police responded to a call after a van was reported stolen from a plaza in the city's North York district.
The 2005 Toyota Sienna was parked outside a laundromat at the time it was taken. The boy's mother was seen leaving the vehicle while she went inside. When she discovered it was missing, she reportedly became inconsolable.
"She was in tears – like hit-the-floor tears," said witness Shani McCalla.
Despite the fact that the infant was inside of the stolen vehicle, an Amber Alert - the urgent bulleting system first established in the United States but since adopted in Canada - was not issued. According to Const. David Hopkinson, the incident was not considered an abduction - although police did not rule it out.
A couple of hours later about four kilometres away from where the van went missing, Toronto resident Shannon Douglas heard a knock on her door. Toronto police were on her stoop, requesting to search her property.
"They mentioned that there was a stolen vehicle, it was that van outside our house, and there was a baby inside the vehicle," she said. Douglas added that police were made aware of the location of the minivan when residents heard screams coming from it and realized there was a baby inside.
Fortunately, the little boy was uninjured and reunited with his family. There is still no word on suspects or arrests.
Last March, a four-year-old girl who was the subject of an Amber Alert was found safe after the car she was in was stolen when it was left running outside of the family home in Toronto. According to police, the girl's mother had started the car in the driveway to get it warmed up and then went into the house to grab a second child. When she returned, the car was gone.
After the girl and the car were found, Det. Ranbir Dhillon warned parents against leaving their children unattended in their car at any time - even in their own driveway.
"Do not leave your children in your car while it's running," he said. "You should be there with your child, especially if they are this young."