Trenton Police Department (TPD) located a child who may have been mistakenly kidnapped by a car thief on January 12, after the child’s mother pull over and got out to use an ATM in downtown.
It took just nine minutes for TPD to locate the vehicle, and the child was found unharmed.
But then police arrested and charged the woman, 28-year-old Marshay Smith, with child endangerment. She had likely left the car running so her daughter would not get cold.
Just a day earlier, the Atttorney General’s Office had issued an announcement warning motorists to lock their vehicles while warming up their vehicles:
Everyone wants a warm car on a cold winter morning, but wily car thieves are looking for a hot one. With chilly winter temperatures setting in, the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety are warning drivers that leaving unattended cars idling in the driveway to warm up is a good way to fall victim to auto theft.
Known among thieves as “puffers,” these idling autos are easy to spot by their puffing exhaust fumes and even easier to steal.
“All a thief has to do is hop in and drive away. It’s even warmed up for them,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Today’s late model vehicles are protected by sophisticated anti-theft technology. But all the technology in the world is worthless when someone leaves their car unlocked and running with the keys in the ignition.”
To avoid falling victim to “puffer theft,” motorists should keep their cars locked while warming them up, even in their own driveways.
Smith was released with a summons and awaits a court date.