Wichita police: 4 children arrested for stealing car with young kids inside
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - A 1-year-old and a 3-year-old were left in a running car while their parents were briefly inside a house. When the parents came back outside, their car was gone. And police say four children stole it.
Officers responded at around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday to a disturbance with a gun in the 4500 block of North Hoover. They arrived and learned a man and woman had their children in their SUV parked in the driveway.
"Both parents went inside (the home) briefly and when they came back the vehicle was gone," police spokesperson Chad Ditch said. "The father immediately left in another vehicle looking for the stolen SUV."
Officer Ditch said the father found the vehicle in the area and stopped it. Several suspects ran and the two children were not in the SUV. They had been removed from the car and placed on the side of a road nearby.
Lt. Matt Lang said at the scene that the remaining suspect was held at gunpoint by the father until police arrived.
The children were found unharmed thanks to the help of people in the neighborhood. They were quickly reunited with their parents.
"They wanted to see mom and dad," Lt. Lang said. "This is one of the success stories."
All four suspects -- two 12-year-old boys, a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl -- were located and taken into custody. Officer Ditch said they were runaways from Saint Francis Ministries foster placement.
The girl, who police say was driving the stolen SUV, was arrested for aggravated child endangerment, kidnapping, theft and interference with law enforcement. The three boys were each arrested for aggravated child endangerment, kidnapping and theft.
Lt. Lang gave some advice to parents of young children.
"Don't ever take your eyes off your children, no matter how old they are," he said. "If they are in a safety seat, a parent or guardian needs to be with them 100 percent of the time so we don't have incidents like this."
Witnesses reported the children had been in a nearby neighborhood since about 4 p.m. and were looking in vehicles.