It was a terrifying day for one mother in Racine, Wisconsin. The unnamed woman came out of a grocery store to find her Buick Enclave missing, and her children gone. It was a harrowing but thankfully short time before the children were located, unharmed, not too far away. The SUV was found a while after that.
The 15-year old took off in the running Buick Enclave
A surveillance camera captured the video of a 15-year old walking into a grocery store in Racine, and then back out. He gets into a running Buick Enclave and takes off, peeling out of the parking lot. Although having your SUV stolen while you’re shopping would be distressing enough, the SUV’s owner had left her children in the running Buick Enclave while she shopped. The children are 1 and 3 years old.
According to WISN, witness Bianca Jimenez said that the woman shopped for no more than ten minutes. She left the store, then came back in, visibly upset. “She comes back in all panicked, she’s like, ‘My car’s not there, my kids are gone,'” said Jimenez.
The 1 and 3-year old were found a short while later
The police were called and they began searching for the missing SUV and the children. Although they were able to locate the stolen SUV, the teenager took off at a dangerous speed. Fearing further harm to the toddlers, police temporarily called off the chase. The children were located before the Buick Enclave. The 15-year old dropped off the children on the side of the road a few blocks from where he stole the SUV. Doorbell video shows police reuniting the children with their family.
Police didn’t find the missing Buick Enclave until the following day, when it was spotted in another part of Racine. The police chased the teenager and the stolen vehicle, and although he tried to get away, they were able to capture him. He was arrested and is being charged with two counts of recklessly endangering safety, two counts of fleeing and eluding, and two counts of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent. They are considering charging him as an adult.
How can you keep your car from being stolen?
If you want to prevent a similar situation from happening to you, try to reduce the opportunity for thieves to have access to your car. Make sure you don’t leave your SUV or car running, and lock the doors. Don’t leave valuables or children in a car alone. While only 19 states have laws against leaving children alone in a car, many advise against leaving children under the age of six alone, ever. Doing so increases the risk that something can happen to them, as they are not being supervised by a responsible party.
Thankfully, the children were unharmed in this situation. Although the woman is probably happy to have her SUV back, she’s certainly most relieved about getting her children back relatively unscathed. To keep from finding yourself in a similar situation, always take your children with you, turn off your car, and lock your doors.