Boy recovered after car theft outside Pembroke Pines day care; 2 arrested

PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have arrested 2 juveniles in connection to the theft of a car, outside a day care center in Pembroke Pines that, police said, had a sleeping 7-year-old boy when it was stolen.

Pembroke Pines Police responded to the scene of a stolen car that had a child inside near the Kiddie City day care center, located at 1780 N. University Drive, Friday afternoon.

The child’s father, Arnett Phillips, said he parked his car outside the day care to pick up his child, but left his other child, 7, in the car.

“I just come to pick up [my other son],” Phillips later told 7News.

Surveillance video captured Phillips’ dark colored sedan pulling up in front of the day care. Moments later, the parent is seen walking toward the center while his son remained inside the vehicle.

“I called and they brought him, like, right here to the front,” said Phillips, “so I got out and came to the door right here and got him.”

But moments after Phillips went inside Kiddie City, the footage captured two young men walking by his car. One of the men kept going, but the other turned around and walked back toward the sedan. He circled the vehicle, then suddenly jumped in and took off with Phillips’ son still inside.

Meanwhile, surveillance video showed the other man walking along the strip mall. Police believe he may have been picked up later.

7News cameras captured parents picking up their children from the day care. The situation frightened some of them.

“Basically, I’m just freaked out about the whole situation,” said one woman.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said one mother holding a little girl. “My little one just said, ‘I hope the little kid that was in the car is safe as well.'”

He was, according to police. Investigators said the boy was dropped off a short time later near the shopping plaza.

Phillips’ car was later recovered in Miami Gardens with the assistance of OnStar.

Friday night, police said they took two juveniles into custody. One of them was charged with grand theft auto and the other was charged with criminal trespassing in a conveyance.

Phillips said his son is doing just fine. “Everything’s all right, They just let him out right here from the car,” he said.

Authorities advise parents to avoid leaving their children in a car by themselves, and certainly not in a running vehicle.

If you have any information on the thieves’ whereabouts, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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