SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police say they're glad two children who were inside their father's pickup truck when it was stolen early Monday were found safe.
Police said the man who stole their father's pickup from an apartment complex around 1 a.m. in the 11800 block of West Avenue dropped off the children a short time later.
Officers helped to reunite the children with relatives.
"Thank goodness that the children were not harmed," said Officer Douglas Greene, a police spokesman. "This was happening in the early morning, and so anything could've happened to those children."
Police said the children's father had left them in the vehicle with the engine running while he ran up to his sister's second-floor apartment.
The father told officers that he had asked his sister to go down and keep an eye on them, but as she walked downstairs, she saw a man climbing into the truck and driving off, police said.
The sister jumped into her car and followed the man, which ultimately led police to the truck, but at that point, the pickup truck was empty.
"We're glad that the suspect at least dropped them off in a public location," Greene said.
A 9-year-old boy was found at a convenience store near Churchill High School. His 4-year-old sister turned up at a different apartment complex in the area.
The children were turned over to relatives, including their father, a short time later.
"I can't imagine the fear and the anxiety the family was feeling," Greene said.
After abandoning the stolen truck in a nearby subdivision, the car thief ran away. Police searched the area but didn't find him.
Greene said when the man is caught, he will face charges, including theft of a vehicle and endangering a child.
He said the case should serve as a reminder not to leave children alone in a car or tempt a thief by leaving a car running.