Gabriel Rand left her car running at a gas pump at the Handee Hugo’s convenience store on Pritchard Road after pumping gas to run into the store and pay. She said she had only planned to be inside the store “for two seconds.”
However in those few seconds Brian Keith Allen Jr., 22, of Clayton who was walking out of the store jumped into the running car and took off, not knowing Rand’s 2 children ages 7 and 3, were inside the vehicle.
According to Clayton officials, when the children started screaming, the suspect stopped and asked the children if they could call someone they knew to pick them up. The 7-year-old called an uncle and gave an address, provided by the suspect, to him. Officials said the uncle immediately called 911.
Allen told officers he was trying to get to Dunn and had no idea there were children in the SUV. Allen remained jailed Monday and charged with two counts of second-degree kidnapping and auto theft.
The woman is not facing any charges for leaving the children inside the vehicle, authorities said.
Said Rand: “To any parent who may have thought ‘I’m gonna run into the store (and) it’s gonna take me two seconds.’ Take your babies. This was a lesson (I) learned.”
Clayton police issued a statement that read: Never leave your children unattended in public, especially inside an unlocked car. This family was in a well-lit gas station in a popular shopping area just outside the Riverwood Athletic Club, but criminals will take advantage of an easy opportunity no matter the location.