Woman Cited for Kids in Car

Update by Blaine Tolison
07/29/08 10:15 p.m.

The car theft last week draws attention to a law many parents might not be aware of--it is illegal to leave children in a vehicle unattended for any amount of time.

It might be a during quick stop while running an errand, but never the less, leaving your car running is a quick opportunity for a thief to take your car or a possible kidnapper to take your child.

Officer David McCranie with the Tallahassee Police Deparment said, "It's tempting sometimes to run out of the car to the ATM, but this is a prime example of what can happen in a blink of an eye."

Last Thursday, Cathia Baptiste's car and children were taken while she was inside a beauty store for less than five minutes. Fortunately, her car and children were found a half hour later. The thief has not yet been caught, but Baptiste was given a minor traffic ticket for leaving her children alone in a car.

"We know that parents above all care for their children and this is no exception, but the law is simple, you can't leave your vehicle unattended and running and this is why that law is in place." said McCranie.

Law or not, many parents know of crimes such as this and always keep their kids in sight. Mary Harvey, while holding her baby boy said, "I don't think it's a good idea. When I go into pay for gas, even I grab him, so I don't leave him in the car at all."

Duel Chavez, a father of two, said parents should take their time when they are running errands with their children. "It's a very safe community, but it's not a good idea because somebody might kidnap them." said Chavez.

The Tallahassee Police Department says there are about 600 auto thefts in the area each year, which is not a lot based on the amount of cars in our area, but the possibility is always still there.

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Update 07/29/08

A woman whose car was stolen with her children inside will receive a traffic ticket for it.

Tallahassee Police Spokesman David McCranie says Cathia Baptiste will receive a 98 dollar ticket for leaving her vehicle running unattended last Thursday.

McCranie says she was not charged with a crime because the children were not in the car alone for more than 15 minutes.

According to police reports, Baptiste ran inside a beauty supply store on South Adams Street to pick up something and left her one and three year old children sleeping in the back seat.

A thief stole her car, but abandoned it a few blocks away. The children were still in the back seat and were taken to the hospital to be checked for heat exhaustion.


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