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.”

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