A 3-year-old boy was left alone in a vehicle that was stolen in southeast Houston Monday, police said.
Investigators said a 29-year-old woman left her toddler in her SUV for a few minutes while she ran into a unit at the Windshire Apartments in the 4400 block of South Shaver at 10:45 a.m. She was dropping her other daughter off at her grandmother's home.
When she returned, the vehicle and child were gone, officials said.
Pasadena police said they found the boy about 10 minutes later. He was not injured. Officers said the thief apparently dropped off the child in the same complex shortly after he drove off. An apartment maintenance worker found him and took him to the leasing office.
The mother passed out when she realized her child was gone. She was treated at the scene.
"This lady is screaming her lungs out. 'My baby! My baby!'" witness Jonathan Harrison said the mother screamed.
The boy's uncle jumped in his car and tried to go after the thief.
"He took off after them and tried to chase the guy down," Harrison said.
The vehicle, a blue 2005 Nissan Pathfinder, was found in an apartment complex half a block away. The thief ditched the vehicle and escaped.
Police said they think the thief got spooked when he discovered the toddler was in the car.
Two cousins found the boy as they left the apartment complex.
"(The toddler) was on the side of the road crying. I asked him if he was alright and he said he needed his mom," witness Kenny Calhoun said.
Officers have not released a description of the thief.
The Harris County District Attorney's Office screened the case and determined that the mother will not face charges.