This article has been updated to reflect the correct age of the child.
WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A 2-year-old girl has been found safe after her mother’s car was stolen in Woonsocket while she was still inside.
Police said the woman had left the vehicle unlocked and running Monday afternoon as she ran inside a store on Elm Street.
“She was in there for just a couple of moments while she was maybe 50 feet away from the car,” Capt. John Picard said. “Someone jumped into it and drove away, the keys were in the ignition.”
Soon after, police found the vehicle abandoned about a block away on Sweet Avenue with the girl unharmed in the back seat.
“The baby is fine, I’m not even really sure if she knew what was going on,” Picard said. “The mom was obviously distraught, this was potentially one of the worst decisions she could have made in her life.”
Picard said the suspect “casually walked away” from the car after abandoning it. The suspect was last seen walking down Sweet Avenue toward Cass Avenue.
“My guess was that the person who stole the car didn’t realize there was a baby in the car until he got a little ways away,” Picard said. “It appears the suspect just saw an opportunity and ran with it.”
The lesson here, according to Picard, is to never leave your car running and unattended, especially with a child inside.
“Even though you’re only going to be in the store for a moment or two … it’s just very dangerous,” he said. “This could have been tragic, it really could have.”
Picard said the suspect is a bald, light-skinned man, likely in his 30s, who was last seen wearing a hoodie.