OCOEE, Fla. - Police are trying to decide whether to charge a young Orange County mother who left her five month old baby in a running car that was then stolen.
The car was stolen from an Ocoee gas station early Monday morning, but the thief ditched the vehicle about 300 yards away after finding a child in the back seat.
The child's mother, Sara Bayes, said she left her child in the car and left it running as she went into a Kangaroo store about 7:20 a.m. along East Silver Star Road to buy cigarettes.
Bayes described her thoughts when she saw the car was gone.
"Where in the hell's my baby? I don't care about any of my possessions. The only thing I care about is my child," said Bayes.
Witnesses said they then saw a man get into the vehicle and drive off.
Police say the car was an easy target, because it was left running and unlocked.
The child was not injured.
Bayes is being investigated for violations related to child neglect and leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle.
"She was sleeping and stuff like that, so I didn't want to disturb her. And, it's cold out and everything and she's sick so, I mean, I honestly didn't think I was even in there that long. But it goes to show how quickly things can happen," said Bayes.
Police searched for the man with a K-9 unit. They believe the thief ran away, down a side road off Silver Star Road.
There is no video of the theft, but Bayes said she got a good look at the man as she entered the store.
"Words can't even describe it. I'm thankful he did leave her alone, but to even take my car knowing there was a car seat in the back," Bayes said.
The thief is described as a white man in his late 20s with short hair, wearing blue jeans.
Investigators were reviewing video from surveillance cameras, late Monday, to determine if the suspect was recorded inside the store.
Anyone with information about the vehicle theft is asked to contact the Ocoee Police Department at 407-905-3160 or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).