A panicked woman leapt onto the hood of her car at a South Side gas station to thwart a thief from driving off with it — and the baby inside, police said.
The 24-year-old woman, believed to be the mother of the child inside the car, left her 2016 Volkswagen running at a gas pump as she walked into the station at 7 a.m. Sept. 18, police said.
Surveillance video provided to DNAinfo from the manager of the station at 3101 S. Michigan shows the woman leaving her car at the gas pump to walk into the station. As soon as she leaves the car, a white car pulls up on the other side of the pump.
The car thief, wearing a dark sweatshirt, casually gets out of the white car's driver's side, walks over to the woman's Volkswagen and gets in. The woman immediately sprints out of the gas station and tries to stop the car but stumbles.
The thief drives out of the camera shot, but police say the woman chased the car down and leapt onto the hood. The thief then ran away, leaving the child unhurt, police said.
Jamie Alissa, manager of the gas station, said he was there during the attempted theft and said the child in the car was just a baby and likely not older than 6 months old.
He said he caught it on security cameras and has given the footage to police, including a clip that shows the two men stealing a purse out of another parked car right before trying to steal the VW.
The Sept. 18 incident was one of four cases in a week of car thieves swiping vehicles at gas stations, police said.
Police said another car was stolen with a child inside, but they were not able to provide the specific incident or the age of the child. Police said the child was found a short distance away unharmed.
Police said the other cars were left running at gas stations in Grand Boulevard and Douglas between Sept. 12 and Thursday.
Car thefts include occurred at:
• 3:20 p.m. Sept. 12 in the 3900 block of South Martin Luther King Drive
• 7:20 a.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of East Pershing Road
• 7:45 a.m. Thursday in the 400 block of East Pershing Road
Police warned people not to leave their cars running while getting gas or to leave small children unattended.
Anyone with information about any of the incidents is encouraged to call the Area Central Bureau of Detectives at 312-747-8380.