Stolen van recovered with sleeping baby inside

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A 10-month-old baby is now safe at home in Gatineau, Que. after a van thief drove off with the sleeping infant still inside.

Gatineau police are investigating the theft, which occurred outside a convenience store in Pointe Gatineau just before 8 p.m. on Thursday.

The baby’s mother stepped out of her minivan to answer a phone call when someone sneaked into her vehicle and drove off with the woman’s infant still sitting in the back, Gatineau police Sgt. Jean-Paul Le May told CTV Ottawa.

Police at the scene said the woman wasn’t far away from her vehicle while she took the call so she noticed the theft immediately. 

At first, the woman thought she had forgotten to put the van in park, but she quickly realized that wasn’t the case, CTV Ottawa reported.

“From there, there was a 9-1-1 call with a lot of police vehicles trying to locate the minivan. That was done about 15 minutes later,” Le May said.

After calling the police, the woman stopped another motorist and tried to follow the thief, who had abandoned the van roughly 400 metres away from the convenience store where it was stolen.

“The thief had left the scene . . . we were happy to see that the child was peacefully sleeping inside the minivan,” Le May said.

Police say they do not suspect parental negligence played a role in the incident.  

Gatineau police are looking for a man in his mid-20s with a medium build and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a blue or grey coat.

Police told CTV Ottawa that while they’re currently only considering the theft of a vehicle, they intend to talk to the suspect to determine whether any other charges may be warranted.

With a report from CTV Ottawa

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