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September 26th, 2021

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Proof that No One Wants to Carjack Your Kids

Lenore Skenazy

By Lenore Skenazy

Published Jan. 29, 2021

Proof that No One Wants to Carjack Your Kids
Yet another guy screamed at a mom for letting her kid wait in the car while she ran in to get a gallon of milk — but with a twist: He was a carjacker who'd just stolen her car.

The second he noticed the kid in the back seat, he sped back to the parking lot and yelled at the mom to take the boy out. She did — and he drove off again.

More proof that almost no one, even a thief, wants your kid.

Here's what happened on Saturday morning in Beaverton, Oregon, according to a reporter named Samantha Swindler. (Egads, is everyone in Beaverton some kind of criminal?)

It was about 9 a.m. The mom needed milk and meat. She put her 4-year-old in the back seat, buckled him into his booster seat and headed to the grocery store. She made sure to park right near the door and ran in — leaving the car running and unlocked.

She was never more than 15 feet from the car, according to police spokesman Matt Henderson. Nor did she dawdle. She was in store very briefly, a clerk at the store attested.

But the carjacker saw her walk in, saw the car running, jumped in and raced away. Realizing just moments later that there was a kid in the back seat, he did a U-turn in the parking lot next to the market and careened right back, whereupon he ordered the mom to take her son out.

No mean feat, considering how complex those car seats can get.

The thief then drove off again, and if you happen to see a 2013 silver Honda Pilot, with the license plate 357 GLV, please call the Beaverton police to have him arrested.

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Do not call them to arrest the mom.

While clearly it is dumb to leave keys — and kids — in an unlocked, running car, I am thrilled that the cops did not charge this lady with a crime. The carjacker is the criminal here, and the victim is the mom. Let's keep that straight.

Parents should be allowed to let their kids wait in the car during brief errands. To outlaw brief car waits because, once in a blue moon, something this crazy happens is the equivalent of outlawing chandeliers because, once a while, one crashes down on someone's head. In journalism, these are called, "Hey, Mabel" stories, because they are so unusual that the reader feels compelled to yell: "Hey, Mabel, listen to this! Says a guy was about to steal a car ... "


Naturally, it also makes sense to turn off the engine and take the keys. But being rushed and trusting the odds is not a crime. If something turns out fine 99.99% of the time, it shouldn't be illegal. If we prohibited everything that could ever possibly hurt a kid, it would be illegal to drive your kids anywhere: The No. 1 way kids die is as car passengers.

And if you happen to see a mom who HAS left the keys and kid in the car, be a good Samaritan, and either stand there a few minutes till she comes back or look for her in the store.

Resist the temptation to jump in and gun it.

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