DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A vehicle with two children inside was stolen in Daytona Beach on Wednesday when the mother of two 3-year-olds went inside a Chinese restaurant, officials said.
Police said the red Chevrolet Impala and the children were found safe a short time later on Virginia Avenue, near U.S. 1 and Beville Road.
According to Daytona Beach police, the woman left the children alone with the car running to keep them warm. The mother, who asked News 6 not use her name, said she was picking up food from the China One restaurant Wednesday night when her car was stolen with the two young children inside.
"I thought I did it the right way. Ordered food, I was in and out," she said.
The driver abandoned the stolen car at Fairway Apartments, and the children were found safe inside, police said. Investigators said a woman unloading groceries saw a man wearing a white hooded sweatshirt and white jeans get out of the red Impala and enter another vehicle that was occupied by two others.
"They left my babies in the car and it's cold," the victim said. "They turned the car off."
The victim said she's thankful her children were not hurt and nothing was stolen from her car, but she hopes authorities catch the man before he does it again.
"I would never think this would happen to me," she said. "I want them to be prosecuted. They are innocent babies, they don't deserve that."
Detectives continue to search for the culprit.
Officials said the Department of Children and Families was contacted since children were involved in the incident.
Police are looking for a black man, wearing white jeans and a white hoodie. He was last seen getting into a car with two other black men. Anyone with information about the case is asked to the call Daytona Beach Police Department.