DoorDash driver stops suspect from stealing her car with kid inside

Police in California are investigating an incident in which a person tried to steal the SUV of a DoorDash worker who left her child inside the vehicle while completing a customer’s delivery.

A resident’s home surveillance camera captured the moment when the DoorDash driver gets out of her SUV to make the delivery while leaving the engine running. The footage, which was posted to YouTube by Fox News affiliate KTVU in San Francisco, shows another SUV pulling up to the DoorDash driver’s vehicle.

A person jumps into the DoorDash driver’s SUV, but within seconds, the DoorDash employee chases down the suspect and screams that her daughter is inside the vehicle, KTVU reported.

The suspect appears to get out of the woman’s SUV while allowing it to roll onto the sidewalk across the street. The child was unharmed, according to the station.

“When officers arrived, they learned that when a victim stepped away from their vehicle momentarily, an unknown individual entered the vehicle and proceeded to drive away. The individual stopped and exited the vehicle moments later,” the Oakland Police Department told Fox News Digital in a statement.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” Oakland police added. “Anyone with information is asked to contact the OPD Criminal Investigation Division at (510) 238-3326.”

DoorDash released the following statement to Fox News Digital regarding the incident: “This attempted carjacking was a horrifying situation for the driver, and we are incredibly relieved that both she and her child are unharmed.”

In 2022, Kids and Car Safety, a national nonprofit working to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles, documented 264 children who were left alone in cars that were then stolen.

“Kids and Car Safety is so glad that this little one is OK,” Amber Rollins, director of Kids and Car Safety, told Fox News Digital. “Children should not be taken along during personal vehicle delivery jobs if they’re going to be left alone inside the vehicle for any amount of time. This leaves them vulnerable to these situations that are happening at alarming rates.”

On Jan. 9, the Oceanside Police Department in Oceanside, California, received a call reporting that a vehicle with two young children inside had been stolen from a house, Oceanside police confirmed to Fox News Digital.

The driver reportedly abandoned the children in front of another house, which was not home to the minors, before speeding away.

The kids were later reunited with their family “safe and sound,” according to a police Facebook post announcing the crime.

So far in 2023, there have been at least 13 documented children-related vehicle theft cases in America. This does not include the DoorDash-related incident in Oakland.

At the time of this writing, Rollins said she was able to identify at least three cases from 2022 that involved a parent delivering food with their children in the car that was then stolen.

Safety tips

DoorDash made note of its in-app portal, SafeDash – a security toolkit aimed at helping delivery providers feel safe while they work. 

DoorDash told Fox News Digital that it has also partnered with law enforcement to regularly share safety tips with “Dashers.”

The company shared the following advice for its drivers:

Lock your car

– Make it a habit to enter your car and lock your doors immediately.

Never leave your engine running 

– While completing a pickup or drop-off, safely park your car, turn off the engine and ensure the windows are closed and all doors are locked. 

Be alert and aware 

– You should pay increased attention in certain locations such as gas stations, near ATMs and intersections with stop signs, DoorDash said.

Protect yourself

– Remember that “a car can be replaced, but you are irreplaceable,” DoorDash advises. “In the event of an altercation, avoid any confrontation, give up your car and leave the scene. Please be sure to remember the suspect’s description and call 911 immediately to report the crime.”

More advice on protecting your kids

Rollins, who is based in the Kansas City area, said it’s likely that if a thief did not intend to kidnap a child who was left inside a vehicle, they will, in a lot of cases, abandon the car as well.

Rollins advised that all parents and caregivers should never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, whether that vehicle is running or not.

In addition, Americans should know the laws in every state, Rollins noted. 

Currently, there are at least 20 U.S. states where it’s illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

Separately, there are at least 25 states that protect “good Samaritans” who rescue people or animals in cars; those details all can be found on the Kids and Car Safety website.

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