A terrified but quick-thinking toddler was able to aid police in his rescue after an unknown suspect stole his mother’s car as he sat in the backseat.
Three-year-old Aiden Barrios was fastened in and waiting for his mother Elizabeth. The mother was inside dropping another child off at an Ogden, Utah daycare at about 7 a.m. on Tuesday.
She’d left the door unlocked and engine running. Unfortunately for Barrios, the scenario was ideal for many criminals.
What happened next was every parent’s worst nightmare.
“I went outside, and my car was driving away,” said Barrios. “With my 3-year-old in it.”
“What are [the thieves] going to do to him? I don’t know who it was or what they wanted. Where are they going to leave him, what are they going to do to him?”
When police arrived on the scene, the mother informed them that her cell phone was still in the vehicle with Aiden.
She informed police that the toddler knew how to unlock and answer her phone. Law enforcement had to hope that when they contacted the device that it would be little Aiden who answered rather than the kidnapper.
Fortunately for all involved, it was the toddler who responded to the phone call.
Aiden was understandably upset as the suspect had fled the car after abandoning it (and the young child) in unfamiliar surroundings.
According to ABC News, Ogden law enforcement officials had Aiden’s mother speak on the phone to the little boy to help keep him calm.
In order to help law enforcement find him, the toddler was told to honk the horn repeatedly so that officers could track him down.
It turns out that Aiden was closer than anyone realized; the stolen car was abandoned a mere three blocks away from the scene of the theft.
Aiden was reunited with his grateful mother a short while later.
— Parentdish Canada (@ParentdishCA) January 14, 2015
Lt. Tim Scott said that authorities believe the suspect, who remains at large, fled the vehicle on foot shortly after realizing there was a toddler in the backseat.
Scott praised the three-year-old as “a very smart child” who “did a great job” in helping police with his rescue.
He also wanted to issue a warning to citizens about leaving their engines running while unattended.
During the winter, it’s not at all uncommon for cars to be left running for about a half an hour; this is just enough time for an observant thief to make a quick getaway.
To avoid a possible car theft, please do not leave your vehicles unlocked and running while you are not there to watch them.
Though this situation and the toddler involved had a happy ending, it should still serve as a serious reminder that would-be car thieves do not take winter breaks from breaking the law!
[Image Credit: Huffington Post Canada Official Twitter]