Alexandria, VA

A young child is safe after the vehicle they were sitting in was briefly stolen on Tuesday afternoon in Arlandria.

The child was left alone in the car for a few minutes and the engine was left running in the 3900 block of Executive Avenue. When the car owner returned from inside an apartment, he saw a man stealing his car with the child sitting in the back seat.

“The suspect stopped the vehicle about a block away, jumped out and ran away,” according to Alexandria police. “The victim chased the suspect for several blocks until the suspect brandished a firearm. The victim then returned to the scene of the incident. The suspect got away.”

The child was uninjured.

The theft occurred around the corner from where a man was stabbed in the leg on Wednesday, March 3.

The incident is the third reported theft of a vehicle this year with the keys left inside the car. In the first incident, local business owner Allison Priebe’s car was stolen while she pumped gas in Old Town on Feb. 7, followed by a second incident at a gas station in Crystal City on Feb. 18.

The incident has prompted a number of city departments to ask residents not to leave children unattended in cars.

“Remember, never leave a child in a vehicle unattended,” police said. “Always lock your vehicle’s doors. Keep your keys, key fobs and valuables either on your person, hidden or locked up in a safe place.”

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact Detective Anthony LaRusso at 703-746-6618. Callers can remain anonymous.

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