CCTV captures moment toddler is rescued after being taken during car theft in Melbourne
CCTV has captured the moment a toddler stumbled into the hands of rescuers after he was abandoned by a car thief in Melbourne.
The two-year-old boy’s father had left him asleep in the grey 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV and left the car running while he ran into a store to buy ice-creams on the Nepean Highway in Chelsea.
The thief then abandoned the distressed child, who was only wearing a nappy, nearby before fleeing the area in the stolen car about 4.15pm.
The boy’s father told 9News he had been left traumatised by the incident.
“Even if your car’s in plain view, please don’t make the same mistake I did,” he said.
Detective Sergeant Grant Lewis said the father was only about 30 to 40 metres away from the car when a man jumped into the car and drove away in it.
The thief had clearly watched the father leave the car unlocked, the detective said.
The thief then drove 350 metres before he stopped on the Bath Street and left the child by the side of the road.
A passerby found the toddler, who was crying and distressed, wandering by the busy road and called police.
He was unharmed and quickly returned to his father.
Lewis said it was a fortunate outcome the child had been returned unharmed.
“You’d hate to think of what could have happened,” he said.
“That’s why we’re treating the matter so seriously.”
He said the car thief would be charged with reckless conduct endangering life when he was found.
Police searched for the stolen car, which was last seen driving erratically south along the Nepean Highway towards Frankston, but were unable to track it down.
At about 5.10pm, a man was caught on CCTV at South Oakleigh McDonald’s on Warrigal Road using the father’s credit card, which had been in the car.
The man has been described as about 20 years old, having an olive complexion, a moustache and dark shoulder-length hair.
He was wearing a white cap, black t-shirt and shorts.
Police do not believe he was the one who stole the car, but police are calling for help to find him along with the car thief and the car.
The car has registration plates BEL 650.
Anyone with CCTV, dashcam footage, information or who witnessed the incident is urged to contact police.