Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Car Thief Surprised by Child in Backseat by Stephen Geffon - Queens Chronicle

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A man who stole a car idling near this deli was shocked to find a child in the back seat, police said. PHOTO BY ANNA GUSTAFSON
A car thief who jumped into an idling car outside a bodega in South Ozone Park last week got the surprise of his life when he discovered a 9-year-old boy sitting in the back seat, police said.

The boy’s father, Robert Collins, 53, of South Richmond Hill, had allegedly left his son, Omar, in his four-door red Honda Accord while he popped into the mini market at the corner of 109th Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway around 7:45 a.m. last Friday, according to police.

When Collins returned, he found that his car and his son were gone.

Luckily, however, he had left his cell phone in the car, which he quickly dialed.

When the phone rang the thief allegedly told the youngster, “Tell him everything is OK, and I’m going to drop you and the car off.”

The man told the child his father could find him at 231st Street and Conduit Avenue, police said.

The youngster described the perpetrator to police as a black man in his 30s with a medium build, a thin beard, black coat and black hat. He remains at large.

Police found the car about 15 minutes after it was taken at the Laurelton intersection specified by the thief. The child was found in the car unharmed.

A police official told the Wall Street Journal that the father could be charged with several offenses for leaving his son in a running vehicle, but it was unlikely that he would be. When the NYPD was contacted by the Queens Chronicle, this could not be confirmed.

Canine units brought to the scene to locate the suspect followed a scent to a vacant house on Lansing Avenue, but from there the trail went cold, police said.

Officers dusted the Honda for prints are reportedly studying surveillance video to try and identify the alleged car jacker.