Dad Leaves Baby in Running Car, Car Gets Stolen

3-month-old found safe on a Detroit porch
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2016 11:31 AM CDT

A Detroit dad is lucky to have his infant back after he made a stop at a convenience store early Monday and left the baby in the car, engine running and doors unlocked, while he ran inside, the Detroit Free Press reports. When he came back out around 1am, his 2006 Chevy Impala was gone, with three men suspected of taking off with it and his daughter, 3-month-old Dakota Grimes. An Amber Alert was put out, and Dakota was found later Monday morning, with a blanket and a bottle, on the porch of a local home, WXYZ reports. A contractor picking up his friend to go to work around 7:15am nearly fell over Dakota as he approached the house's door, per the Detroit News. "You know there's a baby on your porch?" Gary Zielinski said to his friend, Ray Harper, who tells the News that, being the dad of 18 kids himself, his "fatherhood instinct kicked in" and they brought Dakota inside.

It was then they saw the Amber Alert and called 911. The search for Dakota was originally held up because her dad gave police the wrong license plate number and ditched the scene "out of frustration," Detroit Police Chief James Craig tells the Free Press. He adds the department's own procedures slowed things down as well and that they're trying to figure out what caused those delays. The dad isn't a suspect, Craig notes, but he says he chastised him for being out so late with the baby and leaving her in the car alone. "That's a recipe for what? A bad situation," Craig says. Dakota didn't appear to be suffering from trauma, but she was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution; the car and suspects still haven't been tracked down. Harper, meanwhile, is glad he and Zielinski were able to help. "There she goes, that's our baby," he said while watching a news report later Monday morning. (A 3-year-old was found safe after a carjacking.)

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