Portland Police acted quickly when they learned a car had been stolen, with a sleeping 3-year-old in the backseat.

Imagine the thief's surprise when, after stealing a vehicle in Portland, they discovered a cute little 3-year-old child dozing in their car seat. The vehicle was quickly ditched before police could catch the culprit.

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Police say they received the call at about 5:20 PM Saturday, of a red Ford Explorer that had been stolen on Cumberland Avenue. The driver had parked his vehicle near New York Fried Chicken to pick up some takeout. His 3-year-old brother was asleep in the backseat, so he let the child sleep while he ran inside to pick up his food. When he came back out, to his dismay, the car and his brother were gone.

Once he called 911, dispatch immediately assigned 10 police officers and two supervisors to the case, out of concern for the safety of the child. Within minutes, the vehicle was found at 275 Marginal Way, in the parking lot of Black Bear Medical, with the child inside, still quietly sleeping. An officer woke the child, who wasn't hurt in the incident, and stayed with him until he could be reunited with his family.

An investigation was launched but, so far, no suspects have been arrested. Anyone who thinks they may have information about the case is encouraged to contact the police at 207-874-8575.

To provide tips anonymously, call 207-874-8584 and leave a message on the department's Crime Tip Line, or text keyword 'PPDME' plus the message to 847411. (TIP411)

Police say the vehicle was left running and used a keyless, or 'push-start' type ignition, which could be a safety concern for owners of these types of vehicles that do not require a key in the ignition. I had one of these vehicles, for a time, and realized that I kept a spare key in the center console. It wasn't in the ignition but didn't need to be in order to start the vehicle. Residents are reminded to leave an unattended vehicle running and to lock their vehicle at all times.

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