As police search for suspect who stole car with children inside, child services investigates mother

ROCHESTER, N.Y.- Rochester police are still searching for the suspect who stole a car yesterday, with two small children inside. Police are investigating not only the suspect, but also the mother, who they say left the car running as she ran into a corner store.

The children who are six and three, are all right, but police tell me right now the investigation focuses on the mother’s actions, and whether she committed a crime.

Just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, police say a mom stopped at the Lake Avenue Food Market on the corner of Lake and Phelps Avenues. She left the car running and went inside. That’s when someone got in and drove off with the 6-year-old and 3-year-old inside. Police found the car less than a half mile away in an alley after a 20-minute search. The suspect was gone, and the children were not injured and reunited with their family.

Police are reviewing surveillance video from the store and the search for the suspect continues. At this time, no charges have been brought against the mother.

“Also, we’ve referred this investigation to child protective services where they are going to investigate. Obviously in terms of the care of these children, where they were placed, the follow up of that aspect of the welfare of these children as well,” said Lt. Greg Bello.

Rochester police say car thefts continue to rise in the city. Their advice? Don’t leave your car running unattended and keep those doors locked to prevent others from getting in.