CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) – Two children are safe and a car thief is behind bars after a car was stolen with the children inside Saturday night, officials say.
Clayton police arrested the man they say stole a car with two children in the backseat.
Authorities say 22-year-old Brian Keith Allen Jr. of Covered Bridge Road in Clayton has been charged with stealing a car and two counts of second-degree kidnapping.
The incident happened around 11:15 p.m. Saturday when police say Allen stole the car which had been left running at the gas pumps of the Handee Hugo’s convenience store on Pritchard Road.
Authorities say Allen told officers he was just trying to get to Dunn and had no idea there were children in the car.
When the children, ages 7 and 3, started screaming as the car pulled away, Allen stopped and asked the children if they could call someone they knew, authorities say. Their mother had left her phone in the car so the 7-year-old was able to call an uncle.
The suspect helped the children give the address where they could be found. The uncle immediately called 911.
Both Clayton Police and Johnston County Sheriff’s deputies responded immediately to the location where the children were on Covered Bridge Road. They recovered the children unharmed and arrested the Allen.
Allen is being held on a $150,000 secured bond.
Clayton Police issued the following statement regarding the incident:
Clayton Police would like this story to serve as a warning and reminder to parents: Never leave your children unattended in public, especially inside an unlocked car. This family was in a well-lit gas station in a popular shopping area just outside the Riverwood Athletic Club, but criminals will take advantage of an easy opportunity no matter the location.