Thief steals idling car with five-year-old inside

CREATED Feb 2, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - A Wauwatosa father has a message for all parents.

He says he was just trying to keep his son warm, when a thief jumped into his car, with his son still inside, and drove away.

"I didn't have time to think. Talk about life flashing before your eyes."

Jeremy Keila stood at the babystitter's front door to pick up his 15 month old son.

Keila's SUV - parked but running - was just 20 feet away with his five year old son, Fin, in the back seat.

"I was in the house literally 40 seconds. I was handed the baby, I put his coat on and right at about that moment, Ricky stuck his head in the door and said someone just took off in your car."

It happened on a very cold Wednesday near the border of Milwaukee and Wauwatosa.

The sitter's husband, Ricardo Manuel, had been shoveling the front sidewalk.

"My daughter Mia and I were coming around the corner with a shovel and we saw a guy jump in the front seat."

Ricardo and Jeremy ran after the vehicle as it sped away.

"It's not the car. It's the child. That's the main thing. Cars replaceable, a life isn't" said Ricky.

The 19-year-old ditched the car just two blocks away near N. 81st and W. Clarke Streets and took off running. He allegedly told  police he did so when he realized a child was in the car.

When Jeremy and his wife asked fin about the ordeal?

"My wife was saying "Did you yell at him?' and he (Fin) said 'I didn't say anything' and she said 'Why not?' and he said 'Cause you told me never to talk to strangers!'".

Fin was OK, though shaken. Ricardo and Jeremy found him walking the sidewalk back to the house.

"The words lucky don't come close. I've never been so scared in my life," said Jeremy.
This dad hopes his story is a cautionary tale for other parents.

He knows he's not the first to run into the house quick with a kid waiting in the car.

"You think ill just be in a second and it could happen."

Wauwatosa police did catch the suspect.

The case is now in the hands of Milwaukee Police as it was technically the city's jurisdiction.

By the way, if you leave your car running with the keys in the car you could face a $500 fine.