An Amber Alert was released in search of a 20-month-old boy who was kidnapped when a car thief took off with his mother's white Mitsubishi SUV while he was inside.
The mother, who reportedly left the boy alone in the car while she made a quick stop at the grocery store, came out a few seconds later to find both her vehicle and son were gone. The incident occurred in Brooklyn on the corner of Kingston Avenue and Dean Street in Crown Heights around 7 pm on Monday. CBSNewYork reports that the suspected thief is said to be an "unknown black male".
The mother, in panic, immediately dialled 9-1-1 and an Amber Alert was issued by the New York State Police. With the search in full force, both police and the community desperately tried to find the missing boy.
At around 9 pm, officers responded to people waving them down over 11 blocks away between Park Place and Ralph Avenue. The white SUV was parked with the hazard lights on and inside was the little boy, Sincere Gilchrist, asleep and unharmed. Reunited with his mother, the boy was taken to hospital as a precaution.
NYPD Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey speaks about the incident saying, "There's no amount of time that's too short where you think you can get out of your vehicle running, unoccupied or occupied. If you leave your vehicle running for a split second, you create an opportunity for someone to steal your car. When you exit your vehicle, you turn your vehicle off, at all times."
There is an ongoing investigation surrounding the incident but police, the community and the family and friends of little Sincere are just glad he's okay. The neighbour who originally noticed the parked vehicle says that it was because of the Amber Alert that led her to investigate the vehicle and find the boy, something a lot of people who are against the alerts should recognize.
Whether the thief fled the scene upon realizing the (potentially) accidental kidnapping or if he simply got what he needed from the vehicle is unclear, but the incident can be taken as a lesson for all parents. Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle in a public place, or even in your own driveway, is never safe. It takes all of 30 seconds to kidnap a child. Take the extra few minutes to unbuckle and re-buckle their car seat and you could save their life.