Crime & Courts

Three children found safe after van stolen when mom went to pay for gas, police say

Update, 7:45 p.m.:

Wichita police are looking for two persons of interest in an abduction case.

Police described them as white men who were in a white SUV that may have been a Chevy Suburban. One man was wearing a red shirt, dark shorts and a white KU hat. The other was wearing a multi-colored shirt and dark shorts.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.

Original story:

Three children were found safe after a van was stolen at a south Wichita gas station Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said a 25-year-old mother went into the DC Gas & Grocery store at Broadway and Kinkaid to pay for gas at around 3:49 p.m. While inside, her red minivan was stolen.

Three children were inside the van. The keys were left in the vehicle.

The woman called 911, and Sedgwick County dispatchers put out a call of a child abduction.

The children were found safe in the van around 30 minutes later, Ramsay said. They were unharmed and have been returned to the mother. The van was found in the 1500 block of South Gold, or a little over a mile away from the convenience store in the 2100 block of South Broadway.

Police are looking for the auto thief and any witnesses or video that captured what happened. The incident is believed to be random, Ramsay said.

“It’s too early to say where the case may go, as we’re still investigating, as far as any possible charges may arise,” Ramsay said. “We are very glad that we were able to find that van in such a short amount of time, with the heat and children in the car, obviously this could have had a different outcome.”

Officer Paul Cruz had said in a tweet that a maroon Town and Country van was stolen from the 2100 block of South Broadway. Inside the van were two boys and a girl. The children were ages 2 years old, 18 months old and 6 months old.