Oregon Man Accidentally Steals Car With Little Boy Inside, Returns To Scold Mother

Thief “threatened to call the police on her” for leaving the child unattended in an unlocked vehicle, cops say.

January 19, 2021

Generic image of a child's car seat [Getty/Ziviani]

Generic image of a child's car seat [Getty/Ziviani]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

An Oregon mother got a lucky break when a man who stole her SUV noticed the woman’s 4-year-old son in the backseat and returned with the child — and a scolding — before driving off again.

Just after 9 a.m. on January 16, Crystal Leary parked her Honda Pilot, its engine running and doors unlocked, outside the entrance of Basics Meat Market in Beaverton while she ran in to buy milk and meat, The Oregonian reported.

While Leary shopped, the thief hopped in the vehicle and drove off. But after the man spotted Leary’s son sitting in a booster seat behind him, he did a quick U-turn in a nearby parking lot and returned the boy to his mother.

“He orders her to take the kid out of the car, and she does,” Beaverton Police Department Public Information Officer Matt Henderson said. “He actually lectured the mother for leaving the child in the car and threatened to call the police on her.”

The suspect then sped off for a second time.

“Obviously, we’re thankful he brought the little one back and had the decency to do that,” Henderson said.

Leary now understands just how easily the situation might have spiraled out of control.

“As moms, we get really busy, and we think we’re just running in for a second, and this is just a perfect example of just letting our guards down and how terribly it could have ended, so I’m just thankful that he’s OK,” Leary told Portland’s KPTV.

The mother called what she did “so stupid” and insisted she will never make the same mistake again. “It’s that split second decision that could just change everything,” she said.

Officer Henderson explained Leary’s actions did not constitute a crime and she was always “within sight and sound of her child.”

However, he added, what happened should serve as “a good reminder to take extra precaution when we have our little ones with us.”

Next Up

'Get 'Em Santa!' Undercover Cops Dressed As Santa, Elf Capture Car Thieves In California

This holiday season may not be so merry and bright for the three suspects.

Virginia Police Say Man Wearing Baby T-Shirt As Mask Robbed 7-Eleven

Authorities are asking for help to identify the suspect, who allegedly had a knife.

Intruder Breaks Into Ohio Teacher's Home While She Was On Zoom With Student

Special education teacher Amanda Zupancic was on a Zoom call with a student when she heard glass shattering downstairs and jokingly said "I think someone is breaking into my house".

Former Sheriff’s Deputy Burglarized Homes During Funerals, Police Say

If convicted, Janelle Gericke could face more than 12 years behind bars.

'School Of Rock' Star & Guitarist Joey Gaydos, Jr., Busted For Stealing Guitars

Gaydos, who is known for his role as lead guitarist, Zack Mooneyham, in the fictional school band fronted by Jack Black, has been hit with felony charges for larceny and grand theft.

Man Allegedly Stole Woman's Cellphone While She Was Suffering a Heart Attack On St. Louis Sidewalk

64-year-old Air Force veteran Jacquelyn "Jackie" Olden had been jogging in the vicinity of the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

Ex-Marine Accused Of Stealing Hundreds Of Face Masks From a Veterans Administration Hospital

Peter Lucas claims he took the protective personal equipment to give to the homeless.

Janelle Brown On the Grift of Con Artists and Online Influencers

In our Q&A New York Times bestselling author Janelle Brown reveals her inspiration for her latest book comes from a Kim Kardashian incident in which Instagram played a key role.

Pretty Things

Two wildly different women—one a grifter, the other an heiress—are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.