crime

Car stolen with two young children in back seat

69 Comments

Police in Ome, Tokyo, said Monday that car with two young children in the back seat was stolen just after noon on Sunday. The car was found just over 20 minutes later only two kilometers away from where it had been stolen with the children crying but unharmed.

According to police, the two children -- a girl aged 5 and her 2-year-old brother -- were left in the car while the parents went into a convenience store to pick up a few items, leaving the key in the ignition, Fuji TV reported. The children's father immediately called police and reported that their car had been stolen with the children inside.

Police said they are analyzing street surveillance camera footage to try and identify the thief.

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69 Comments
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Who leaves the keys in their car ignition when they park up?

6 ( +12 / -6 )

why didn't one of the parents stay in the car with the kids?

12 ( +15 / -3 )

why didn't one of the parents stay in the car with the kids?

madly in love, can't stay away for a moment even :(

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

They probably left the engine running to keep the AC going. With this heat, this is necessary - however, one of the parents should have stayed with the kids.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Poor kids.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yeah, that happens ALL the time in Japan. Car left running with no one in sight. I WISH more cars like that would get stolen. Maybe that would wake up some people.

And leaving the kids in the car alone, see it every day.........

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

First of all, for the noobs arrived in Japan, Japan is not a country like the US where one constantly has the feeling of being harmed or robbed by criminals. Occasionally it happens but it's far from regularity like in the US or UK. This is why people are more lax with leaving ignition keys and kids. Then if in one of 5000 cases something bad happens, everyone is in uproar and blames the parents.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

Please arrest the parent, who leaves their kids in the car with the keys in it!

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

Somebody taught them lesson and hopefully to some news readers

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kids left in the car alone, standing in up in the car without a seatbelt. some parents have no idea the dangers of cars and kids. its not until one dies from ignorant parents that they finally realise. if the J gov spent more on graphic road saftey ads on TV . the J public would finally wake up. YES graphic ads have proven to be save lives. heres an example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsp-nrf_8KQ

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And why aren't the parents being charged for negligence while the police are at it? I see people leave cars running all the time while popping into convenience stores, and while that can be seen as a sign that Japan is relatively safe, it's also a sign of stupidity -- and leaving your kids alone to boot!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

madly in love, can't stay away for a moment even :(

Is this sarcasm? You DON'T leave children alone in a car,especially when the children are as young as these, and especially when you've left the keys in the ignition, the doors unlocked, and the engine running. It's not about being a helicopter parent. It's about being a responsible parent in a worst case scenario of "What if?"

Theft of running cars from convenience store parking lots has been on the steady increase for years in Japan. If you don't particularly care if your car gets stolen, then do as you wish. But don't throw your children into the same scenario and expect a lot of sympathy when an enterprising criminal decides to take the car and your children along on a 20-minute joy ride.

The father is damned lucky the thief wasn't a much more terrifying caliber of human being.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Let's hope the kind thief left the car with the engine running and the air conditioning on.

(Or at least with the windows half-open.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The newest alarm system for cars? Leave your kids in your car and surprise the thieves, right?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I WISH more cars like that would get stolen. Maybe that would wake up some people.

er... I don't.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

", everyone is in uproar and blames the parents."

Well yeah, if they had not left their children alone in the car, this would not have happened!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Well yeah, if they had not left their children alone in the car, this would not have happened!"

And maybe the car was still missing!

Lucky people inside their bad luck. The amateur thief will probably give up from now on. Better get a job, its easier.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Please arrest the parent, who leaves their kids in the car with the keys in it!

Yes! Let's punish kids who were almost taken away from their parents by taking their parents away from them! /s

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Victoria: "Yes! Let's punish kids who were almost taken away from their parents by taking their parents away from them! /s"

They're obviously not good parents, so yes.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

The old Japan is gone.Very sad!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Re:

Yes! Let's punish kids who were almost taken away from their parents by taking their parents away from them! /s

They're obviously not good parents, so yes.

Well, errr.... No. A draconian response to what otherwise could have turned into a disasterous story is not what's called for here. The shock of all this in all likelihood punished the father enough. Imagine the moment you step out of the convenience store and realize what's just happened. This would be a nightmare scenario for any parent. I'd bet a substantial amount of money he won't ever do this again. That's enough, as far as I'm concerned.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

MyJT2014 "The old Japan is gone.Very sad!!"

Pre-Meiji, right? Yes, but if you look you will find it parked about 2 kilometers away from where you were expecting to find it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A lot of people don't seem to understand (as crazy as it sounds), it's the norm in Japan for people to leave the car running while they run into a convenience store. It's actually pretty rare to see people actually turn their car off and lock the car door when making a quick stop.

Personally, I do it occasionally, but being from the states, it's instinctive for me to turn the car off and lock the door even when making a quick pit stop.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

it's the norm in Japan for people to leave the car running while they run into a convenience store

It still doesn't make it right. Leaving two small kids in the car with the keys left in it is an extremely dumb move. Anything could have happened. Kids are naturally curious and so they could have easily thrown that car into gear and hit someone with it. I know because I was a victim of stupid parent who left me in a running car when I was a kid. Fortunately, the parents and the kids caught a lucky break and no one was harmed, but it could EASILY gone the other direction.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

When will people learn. DO NOT leave your kids in the car alone. DO NOT leave a car running in a parking lot. I see this crap every day out here in the provinces. Whoever said they hope this happens more, me too. Seems it might be the only way for these idiots to learn.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Simple solution: Take your kids into the store with you (oh...and your keys too.)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

LFRagain: "Imagine the moment you step out of the convenience store and realize what's just happened."

Well, you see, I don't need to imagine it because I would first of all never leave the keys in the ignition (and likely the car still running), nor would I leave any children alone in the car. I would either take them into the store or my wife or I stay with them. It's negligence, and while you're right that it could have been far more tragic and the parents have likely learned their lesson, they should not have had to experience this in the first place.

"That's enough, as far as I'm concerned."

It's not enough, and as we read time and again about parents leaving their kids in cars and those kids dying of heat stroke or being taken away or what have you, it'll continue to happen. I've no doubt you're right that THIS couple will never do that again, but others will do it so long as there's no real punishment in place. And why, by the way, do you only focus on the father. BOTH parents left the kids in the car with the keys in the ignition, and both are responsible for the kids being taken.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

According to police, the two children—a girl aged 5 and her 2-year-old brother—were left in the car while the parents went into a convenience store to pick up a few items, leaving the key in the ignition

So TWO adults thought it was a good idea to go into a shop with a) the keys in the car and b) kids in the car? Either of those deserves the "muppet of the year" award but add them together and you just have idiot parents. A five year old could EASY start to screw around with the keys and the gears. The parents need to be punished for this as it could have turned out so much worse for many. Never leave your kids in the car alone and never leave them alone with keys in the bloody car!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Man, this is one case where I actually feel kind of sorry for the perpetrators. Imagine stealing a car for a joyride, only to discover two squalling infants in the back!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Stewart Gale

Who leaves the keys in their car ignition when they park up?

My guess would be someone who doesn't want to find their kids dead from the heat... That doesn't excuse the parents but I guess it answers your question.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So one parent stay in the car with the kids? I mean, it's not rocket science!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's about being a responsible parent in a worst case scenario of "What if?"

Where kids are concerned, "what if" thinking is a Western import.

I was at a local barbecue yesterday with a local sports club. The coach got progressively drunker and eventually feel asleep in front of the kids, that is the kids who weren't playing completely unsupervised by a weir in a nearby river.

There are many great things about this lovely country, but attitudes to child safety is not one of them.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In USA, the driver get arrested if someone stays in a parked car. Not even older people or handicapped people can stay in a parked car without a driver in front of the driver;s seat. Then, from outside, the driver beep to lock the car doors.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Toshiko, what on earth are you talking about?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@tmarieJUN. 16, 2014 - 07:33PM JST Toshiko, what on earth are you talking about?

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Did you read the above article? Children left in a car while parents went to shopping. Read again. I wrote about USA since I live in USA at least a half time.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you don't think the parents are stupid for leaving the kids alone in the car with the keys in it you don't have kids yourself.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@toshiko

I am from the US. Nobody gets arrested for leaving people (kids or adults) in the car, unless there is a clear sign of negligence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The goon that stole the car will be facing charges, but the neglectful parents get nothing? Leaving your kids in the car for any length of time is a criminal offence where I come from and you can lose your kids to family services.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@tmarie: (CA Driver License Handbook ~ Parking) http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/parking.htm

@Mirai: I uuially live near Vegas, Handicap signs are near entrance. Nevada DMV regulations, Handicap sign only for handicap parking spots. I don;t know which state you live, but Nevada, Calif, I found I can not stay in a car driven by my children when they go outside of their cars. DMV explained when I went to renew my Nevada residence ID. Every casinos, parking attendants keep eyes for cars parked. The bottom floor parking, they keep eyes on handicap placard in the cars. 2nd and up, they keep eyes on inside of cars. Traffic cops roam around because some people abandon kids and go away to Arizona and some other states,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Mirai HayashiJUN. 16, 2014 - 08:39PM JST @toshiko I am from the US. Nobody gets arrested for leaving people (kids or adults) in the car, unless there is a clear sign of negligence.

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In Nevada, USA, the driver gets arrested.

It is dangerous to leave little children in a car. This case will alert parents who have a habit of leaving children in a car and also people who leave ignition key and door unlocked.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Smith,

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be some sort of punishment (although, to be fair, I certainly did imply as much). I'm saying that taking the children away from the parents in this case is over the top. It's a cure that is far worse that the disease for a man who otherwise might be a perfectly normal father.

He ran into the convenience store for a few moments. I doubt he -- or anyone for that matter -- expected his car to be stolen in those few moments, particularly when it's in plain view through the broad windows of the convenience store. Not saying this lapse of common sense is excusable. But it certainly doesn't warrant breaking the family apart just to assuage the discomfort we feel for his profound stupidity.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If the car was found only 20 minutes later, the thief just wanted to get somewhere faster or was fed up with the wild kids in the back.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I see this often in Japan... Mostly at grocery stores.. I get the staff, and they get the plate , when the parent comes out i Scold them, if I had more time Id call the cops.., the car can catch fire or jump in to gear or battery die and the kids die cos of the heat and in this situation get stolen, The parent are just as guilty, shame on them...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stay on topic please. The U.S. is not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The amount of times that something like this happens is countable on half a hand, this is not the USA, Europe or any perother place, this is Japan. The kids were probably in their kids' seats, and the parents just hopped in to get something quickly , I do it all the time...it's a convenience store, with windows looking out on the parking place...it was just bad luck that some fool decided to nick their car nothing more. You must be all perfect parents, who probably even won't visit a convenience store, because your little ones might get traumatized by the covers of naked ladies which are in plain view....or addicted by cigarettes, because of the open display of cigs.... Get off your high horses!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

First of all, for the noobs arrived in Japan, Japan is not a country like the US where one constantly has the feeling of being harmed or robbed by criminals. Occasionally it happens but it's far from regularity like in the US or UK. This is why people are more lax with leaving ignition keys and kids. Then if in one of 5000 cases something bad happens, everyone is in uproar and blames the parents.

(Ignoring the US and UK garbage because the moderator is right... it has nothing to do with this crime of opportunity IN JAPAN.)

So you're saying Japanese people are more willing to gamble with their children's safety because only OCCASIONALLY the children will be put in harm's way? Keys in the ignition + engine running + doors unlocked = "Hey ANYBODY! I'm begging to be stolen!" These parents created a thief magnet and left their children right in the middle of it. YES. I BLAME THE PARENTS.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Cars with running engines are NOT thief magnets, just because it's dangerous to walk at night in a mini skirt inn some countries, doesn't make it dangerous in other countries. Some folks always need to blame someone, if not the parents, then the society...if nothing left to blame, they blame it on the boogie!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

LFRAgain: "It's a cure that is far worse that the disease for a man who otherwise might be a perfectly normal father."

And once again you ignore the fact that BOTH parents left the kids in the car to pick up a few things at a convenience store. You fail to answer my question why you focus solely on the father and not admit he and his spouse are bad parents.

From the article: "According to police, the two children—a girl aged 5 and her 2-year-old brother—were left in the car while the parents went into a convenience store to pick up a few items, leaving the key in the ignition..."

So why is this solely the father's fault, in your mind?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

So archtypical Japanese. In what other country can you imagine a family leaving their small children in the car, with the engine running, ready to be driven away. Not in mine!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Never mind the car. Thank heavens the kids are safe.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

First of all, for the noobs arrived in Japan, Japan is not a country like the US where one constantly has the feeling of being harmed or robbed by criminals. Occasionally it happens but it's far from regularity like in the US or UK. This is why people are more lax with leaving ignition keys and kids.

In other words complacency. That is not something to be proud of, it is a very fatal weakness. Complacency kills.

Cars with running engines are NOT thief magnets

So if a thief is looking to steal a car what would be a bigger magnet than a car that isn't locked and the engine is running?

this is not the USA, Europe or any perother place, this is Japan.

Why should we care if it is Japan? Just because an event is rare doesn't mean you should be allowed to take such risks or be so complacent when you can very easily and with almost no effort take steps that pretty much eliminate the risk. That is like saying the odds of you getting into a car crash is so low that you should be allowed to be complacent and not put on a seat belt.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The article never said the car was on, just that the keys were left in the ignition nor did it say if the windows were closed or open. Leaving keys in the car and especially in the ignition is never a good idea in any country. The parents here made their car a crime of opportunity. It is possible that some delinquent thought it as a good idea to take a joy ride and never noticed the kids till later. There is a question, was the car parked or was it just stopped in the street which is also considered parked in the Japan. If it was in the street, it's much more dangerous to leave the kids in the car.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smith,

It's not solely the father's fault. Never said it was. They both share responsibility for what happened. My focus on the father was in no way an effort to absolve the mother. I was simply focusing on the father since he's the one who called the police. You seem to be looking for a fight where there is none.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm just glad the kids are okay! They must have been so scared.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So if a thief is looking to steal a car what would be a bigger magnet than a car that isn't locked and the engine is running?

It's like talking to a wall.... normally cars don't get stolen in broad daylight in Japan....so what would have happen if somebody decided to rob the convenience store while the parents and kids are there.....one kid gets shot and..it's the parents fault....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

First of all, for the noobs arrived in Japan, Japan is not a country like the US where one constantly has the feeling of being harmed or robbed by criminals. Occasionally it happens but it's far from regularity like in the US or UK. This is why people are more lax with leaving ignition keys and kids. Then if in one of 5000 cases something bad happens, everyone is in uproar and blames the parents

Regardless of what country, leaving a five and two old in a car unattended is wrong. The five year old is capable of placing the car in gear possibly causing harm to themselves and others. Also, car theft is a big problem in Japan; it’s just not reported in the media as much, unless of course there is a more interesting story like kids being left inside the stolen car.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

normally cars don't get stolen in broad daylight in Japan

You sure about that? Japan is well known amongst the car world for car theft. From my understanding you can't get insurance for a Harrier here unless you have a gated in driveway. Why? The rate of theft. My husband will not buy a Harrier (I love them) because of the high rate a theft. Well know they get stolen and shipped off to "gaikoku" never to be seen again. I know more than a few folks that have had their cars stolen in broad daylight. Skylines were targeted when I first came here and I have a friend who had TWO stolen in Osaka while he was at work.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yes I'm sure about that, harriers, Land cruisers and Hi-aces are popular among thieves, but I never heard of them being stolen while parked in front of an convenience store. I used to work in the car auction business so I know pretty much what's going around. True car thieves are rather ruthless, and would have kicked the kids on the street, before driving of the nearest chop shop......this was just some punk stealing a ride.

From my understanding you can't get insurance for a Harrier here unless you have a gated in driveway.

Simply not true, because I drive a land cruiser, which is far more often stolen, but when I insured it, there was not a single question about my parking. And who has a 1 million car park to house a 4 million car?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You sure about that? Japan is well known amongst the car world for car theft.

With only 21,000 cases per year? I doubt it.

http://www.car-tounan-boushi.jp/condition.html

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dutch, just because YOU haven't heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Every day care theft doesn't make the news. Great. You worked in the car business so you should have some idea as to where all therse cars end up and what cars get stolen. My neighborhood has plenty of flimsy gated in driveways. Guess which cars they drive and guess why they have gated driveways? And chop shops? Nah. More like get it on the boat to China and Russia ASAP.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Dutchduck,

Are you talking about working for car auctions in Japan or in another country?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Are you talking about working for car auctions in Japan or in another country?

In Japan, I used to work for an Australian car export/import company.

And chop shops? Nah. More like get it on the boat to China and Russia ASAP. The GTR's and sports models are first stripped and then sold...the big 4wd's are shipped as a whole. Cars get stolen in Japan, but most thieves aren't that brutal to steal one in broad daylight , with an running engine in front of a convenience store..some convenience stores are equipped with outside camera's etc. It would be too risky for a pro. At night and even in daytime , the Japanese are lulled into a sense of false security and are rather careless.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Thanks. Just wondering where your viewpoint was coming from.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Certainly not disagreeing most won't steal a running in car in front of a conbini but that is not what you claimed. You claimed "in broad daylight" and I 100% disagree with that.

Well aware the large models are shipped whole - I stated that.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It's like talking to a wall.... normally cars don't get stolen in broad daylight in Japan

That is not an answer to my question. If a person is looking to steal a car, any car, what would be more attractive than a car that is unlocked with the key in the ignition and the engine turned on?

Dutch, you basically stated that a car that is unlocked with the engine turned on doesn't significantly increase the risks of the car getting stolen or as you put it is not a car thief magnet. You can't possibly expect people to believe that the fact that you believe is amazing. That would be like saying if someone's laptop was left outside with it turned on and logged in that it wouldn't be a thief magnet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That is not an answer to my question. If a person is looking to steal a car, any car, what would be more attractive than a car that is unlocked with the key in the ignition and the engine turned on?

Actually Dutchduck does have a point in that such above condition when stolen has a higher chance of being apprehended by the authorities than cars that are let's say, parked at night when people are asleep.

As my link indicates, 3 out of 4 cars that are stolen are "keyless".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Actually Dutchduck does have a point in that such above condition when stolen has a higher chance of being apprehended by the authorities than cars that are let's say, parked at night when people are asleep.

Oh I understand that point but the idea that unlocked cars with the engine running don't increase the odds of the car being stolen is ludicrous. This is what he said:

Cars with running engines are NOT thief magnets

In other words - In general unlocked cars with the engine running don't increase the odds that a car thief will pick your car over one that is locked and the engine isn't running.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In other words - In general unlocked cars with the engine running don't increase the odds that a car thief will pick your car over one that is locked and the engine isn't running.

Yeah. Because you're completely disregarding the ramafication afterwards.

In other words, if I was a car thief, would you prefer a easy access but an immediate reporting to the authorities or harder access but an hours reporting to the authorities?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

A Japanese friend of mine used to get a real kick out of getting into cars left running and moving them a few parking spaces along in a car park. Was always funny seeing the reaction of the person coming out of the store, if they noticed, considering some didn't even notice.

The guy wasn't a typical Japanese person by any means, but he was married to a foreign woman, so go figure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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