Dad Charged After Car Stolen With Kid Inside

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 21, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

You know you're not supposed to leave your kid in a car alone -- even if you're running inside for just a few minutes. But some people do it anyway.

It's illegal. And as Philip Owens knows, it's quite possible that your car will be stolen -- with your kid inside. Luckily, Owens' 6-year-old son was unharmed and found soon after his car was taken from a mini-mart in Rochester, New York.

Not so luckily, Owens has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

A person engages in child endangerment when he knowingly acts in a way that is likely to cause physical or mental injury to a child. Leaving a young child unattended in a car can, and does, lead to kidnappings, heat stroke, hypothermia and other dangerous situations. It's never the safe thing to do.

While Philip Owens had no intention of endangering his son's life, he did so knowingly. He left the sleeping child in the running car and ran inside to get a drink, explains WHAM-TV. Soon after, surveillance cameras caught the thief getting into the car and driving away.

He probably didn't notice the sleeping child until he was a few blocks away.

The boy didn't notice the thief, either. As his mother tells WHAM-TV in the following clip, he slept through the entire ordeal:

Some commenters believe the resulting fear is enough punishment and that Philip Owens shouldn't have been charged. The boy is fine and doesn't even remember what happened. While true, this doesn't lessen the seriousness, or criminal nature, of Owens' actions.

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