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Man steals car in Newark with sleeping toddler inside

NEWARK, NJ — A mother was terrified this afternoon when someone stole her car with her sleeping toddler still inside.

The 24-year-old woman parked her car with her 2-year-old daughter sleeping inside, police said. She started unloading groceries and bringing them into a relative's house.

The car was gone on her return trip.

Police located her car within minutes, officials said. It was parked less than 400 feet away, just around the corner.

The girl was taken to University Hospital to be examined, police said. He did not appear to be harmed.

About a third of cars stolen in Newark so far this year were left running, according to Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose. He cautioned the public about leaving their cars running an unattended.

"With a little common sense, many crimes like this can be prevented," Ambrose said. "Everyone has to be thankful that this didn’t end with tragic results.”

Detectives have asked for help identifying the carjacker. He was last seen headed north on Adams Street from Ferry Street.

Police described him as being about 20-years-old, 6 feet tall and 180 pounds.  He was last seen wearing a red and white hat; a red, white and blue soccer jersey with Racco written on the front and back in white letters; black and white Adidas track pants and blue and white Nike sneakers.

Police are urging anyone with information about this suspect or his whereabouts to please contact the police by utilizing the Department's 24-hour Crime Stoppers’ tip line at 877 NWK-TIPS (877 695-8477) or NWK-GUNS (877 695-4867).  All anonymous Crime Stopper tips are kept confidential and could result in a reward.

Anonymous tips may also be made using the Police Division’s website at: http://www.newarkpdonline.org or through our new Smartphone App available at iTunes and Google Play. Search Newark Police Division to download the App.