Thief steals car with 3-year-old inside

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --  A Colorado Springs father is thankful to have his son in his arms after his car was stolen with the toddler inside on Sunday.

Police say at around 2 a.m. Anthony Pettiford stepped out of his running vehicle to greet some friends in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven on South Hancock Avenue.

"We were 2-3 feet in front of the car and two guys came out of 7-Eleven and one jumped in his car,” said witness Kim Rayford.

That is when she heard the boy’s father scream for his son.

Pettiford and other bystanders attempted to chase after the car, but were not able to reach it in time.

Several minutes later the boy was dropped off by the suspect at a residential area near the gas station. He was left with a plastic bag containing some of his belongings.

“We opened the door and there's a 3-year-old standing there holding a bag and he says ‘Help me. I'm cold,’" said Traci Gilbert, who found the child after he ran her doorbell. “The little boy was completely calm.”

“I need help. I want to find my daddy,” the toddler told Gilbert.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Gilbert’s adult son drove the boy around the area, hoping to find his house. While looking for the home her son was able to flag down a police officer who was searching for the missing child nearby.

The boy was quickly reunited with his father uninjured.

Police are still searching for the suspect and the stolen vehicle described as a white 1995 Chrysler New Yorker with Colorado license plate 083-VGE.