WEST ORANGE — Police are reminding parents to not leave their children in a running vehicle unattended after a car theft nearly became a kidnapping.

A mom kept her engine on and left her kid in the car when she went into a store on Columbia Street shortly after noon on Wednesday, West Orange spokesman Joseph Fagan told New Jersey 101.5. Around 12:12 p.m., police received a call reporting a motor theft.

Officers arrived at the scene and found the car only a block away from the store. Only the child, who was unharmed, was still in the vehicle.

"The suspect abandoned the stolen vehicle upon realizing a child was in the car and fled the scene," Fagan said. The man was seen walking away in a "frantic manner" toward Watchung Avenue.

Witnesses described the suspect as a man with short hair standing five-feet-five-inches tall, according to Fagan. He was wearing a T-shirt with a graphic or logo on it.

The mother denied medical assistance for herself or the child at the scene.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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