A car thief got more than he bargained for when he decided to steal a woman’s car. After driving away, he promptly returned to scold the owner of the stolen vehicle and threatened to call the police on her.
Crystal Leary learned the hard way that it’s a bad idea to leave your car idling with the doors unlocked while running into a store. Leary went into a meat market to buy a gallon of milk and meat in Beaverton, Oregon, on a Saturday morning, leaving her car unattended and unlocked with the engine running. Unsurprisingly, a thief decided to seize the opportunity, but it wouldn’t be long before he promptly turned around.
It was just after 9 am when the thief made off with Leary’s car, leaving the woman in shock. Her disbelief would only increase, however, when she spotted the man returning to the market in her stolen vehicle after he had looked in her backseat and found her 4-year-old son. The thief wasn’t there to return the vehicle, but rather to lecture the victim of the car theft for leaving her child unattended.
The unnamed suspect proceeded to scold the mother, threatening to call the police on her for leaving the boy unattended in the backseat of a running vehicle. After reprimanding Leary, the upset thief ordered the mother to take her child out of the car before he drove away in the stolen vehicle again.
“He hopped in the car, drove it, realized there was a 4-year-old inside, and drove back and ordered [the mother] to take the child out of the car and then [he] drove away again,” Beaverton police spokesman Officer Matt Henderson told CNN. “We’re thankful he had the decency to bring the little one back.”
Leary, who was just 15 feet away from the car on the other side of the glass in the market, tried to defend her decision to leave the young child unattended outside the store while she ran in to grab a few things, which she thought wouldn’t take long.
“As moms, we get really busy, and we think we’re just running in for a second, and this is just a perfect example of just letting our guards down and how terribly it could have ended,” she said emotionally, according to The Blaze.
The mom is now rethinking her actions and using her experience to warn other mothers who might be tempted to do what she did when they are in a hurry. “I am thankful that he is okay,” Leary said, speaking of her son, before adding, “It was so stupid, and I’ll never do that again, but it’s that split-second decision that can just change everything.”
Police were able to recover Leary’s car, a 2013 silver Honda Pilot, in Portland — about eight miles away from Beaverton — a few hours later. But, the suspect, who is described as a white male with long, dark brown braided hair, was long gone.
Thankfully, Crystal Leary’s son was unharmed. As she admitted, though, this could have ended much differently. Hopefully, this can serve as a lesson to others. When a criminal is questioning your parenting skills, it’s time to reevaluate your decisions. Even the “bad guys” know it’s a terrible idea to leave a child unattended in an idling car even for a second.
“This is a good learning lesson for all of us who have children,” Officer Henderson said. “Be extra careful with your kids, take the extra step to make sure they’re safe.” Simply put, it’s worth the effort to take your child into the store with you to ensure their safety. Crystal Leary would definitely agree after making such an avoidable mistake that could have ended in tragedy.