2 juveniles accused of stealing car, leaving small children in car on curb in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Winston-Salem police have arrested two teenagers after they stole a car with two toddlers inside, dumped the toddlers on the side of the road and crashed the stolen car.

Police say it's a miracle they weren't hurt, thanks to a good Samaritan, who may have saved their lives.

Police say a woman went to the Goodwill on Waughtown Street around 7:45 p.m. Thursday. She left her car running with her 2-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, secured in their car seats, while she ran inside to pick something up.

Moments later, she watched her car leaving the parking lot.

Police found the two teenagers driving the stolen car a short time later near the intersection of North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and North Cleveland Avenue.

“Within a few seconds it had crashed," Lt. David Rose said.

The suspects ran off and police arrested them nearby. That's when police realized the toddlers were no longer in the car.

"The number one focus of about 75 police officers last night was to get two kids reunited with their mother," Rose said.

Minutes later, police got another call. Someone driving down Glendale Street spotted the toddlers left by themselves.

“The kids had been actually put out of the car in their child safety seats," Rose said.

FOX8 talked on the phone with the man who found the kids. He knew something was wrong the moment he saw them and focused on one thing -- getting them to safety. He put them in his car and called 911.

“I think the miracle of this — set aside the callousness and contempt for humanity of putting a 2 and 3-year-old on the side of the street — we saw the other side of humanity with an individual who happened along, picked these kids up, put them in his car and called police. So we got to see both side of humanity," Rose said.

Altogether, it took 22 minutes from the time the teens took the car to when the mom and her kids were reunited.

"The mom hugged every single police officer that was on the scene," Rose said.

Police won't identify the two suspects who stole the car because they're both under 16 years old. They're charged with kidnapping and larceny of a vehicle. They're both still in custody, pending court proceedings.

Police say the best way to prevent this from happening to your family is to always lock your car door. Never walk away from a running car, even if it's locked, and never leave your kids alone in the car, even just for a moment.