Falls police say they are investigating what they describe as the "unusual circumstances" surrounding the theft of a car with two children inside on Monday afternoon.
"We are working on the investigation," Criminal Investigations Division Detective Lt. John Conti said on Tuesday. "There are some things (about the case) that are a little unusual."
Patrol officers said they were dispatched to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 1800 block of Pine Avenue at 3:20 p.m. Monday and as they responded they were told the victim's two children were still in the 2007 Jeep Compass. The children were identified as girls, aged 1 and 6 years old.
Moments later, an unidentified individual contacted police and said two small children had just been "dropped off" in the 800 block of 17th Street. The children were then identified as having been in the stolen SUV.
Nearby surveillance cameras showed a male suspect, wearing a white shirt, blue jean shorts, white shoes and a camouflage hat ride up to the SUV on a bicycle and look inside. The suspect then put his bicycle down in front of a storefront and jumped into the vehicle, which the victim had left parked and running with the children inside.
The surveillance camera video showed the suspect drive the SUV east on Pine Avenue, before turning north on 19th Street.
Patrol officers issued a summons to the victim, Heidy M. Ortiz, 27, 1542 Pierce Ave., for leaving a vehicle running unattended.
Police said the children were not harmed and suffered no injuries during the incident.
"Just as we had in the case in Buffalo last year (where two Falls teens were charged with stealing a car with a young child inside it), again this demonstrates why you should never leave kids in a car," Conti said.
Around 5:30 p.m. Monday, Falls police were advised by officers with the Buffalo Police Department that the stolen Jeep had been found on the lower West Side of the city.
Buffalo police said a man, identified as the Ortiz's brother, told them that she had contacted him and told him about the car theft. The victim's brother said he began looking for the vehicle and found it, occupied by two male suspects in the 200 block of Carolina Street.
After an argument with the suspects, the victim's brother told police they gave him the keys to the stolen Jeep and ran away.