Dad arrested after thief steals car with kids inside

Updated:

Police say a father was arrested for leaving his kids in a running car that thieves stole while he went into the Star Discount Food Market in Atlanta.

ATLANTA -  

Police say a father has been arrested for leaving his kids in a running car a thief stole while he went into a store.

A neighbor found the 5-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy alone on her street. Police said the children let themselves out of the car the thief abandoned near Willie Delia Monroe's home.

Monroe said she helped her neighbor tend to the children.

"We said we were (going to) call the policeman for them and the little girl started crying. She said, 'I don't want to get locked up,''' Monroe told Channel 2's Jeff Dore.

Police eventually took the children's father, Charles Boyd, into custody. Police said he left them unattended while he went inside the Star Discount Food Market on Joseph E. Boone Boulevard for ice.

A witness inside of the store, Tabitha Robinson, said Boyd was hysterical when he discovered his car and kids were gone.

Police said Boyd did not tell them his kids were inside the car when it was taken. But Robinson believes he did, and that there was some kind of misunderstanding.

"He told the police that his kids (were) in the car and somebody jumped in his car and pulled off," Robinson said. "Maybe the police misunderstood him when he said that his kids were in the car. Because (of) how he was talking, it could (have) sounded like he said, 'My keys in the car.'"

In a court hearing, Boyd said the store had a security guard outside who told him it was safe to leave his children in the car.

But police still charged him with reckless conduct.

Police said when they found the car, it had a salable amount of marijuana in the trunk so he was also charged with possession, until the judge dropped the charge, considering the possibility it could have belonged to the thief.