‘Things Change in a Second’: Des Moines Police Warn About Leaving Kids in Running Cars

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A scary 48 minutes on Wednesday night should serve as a warning to all parents, Des Moines police say.

A seven-year-old child was sleeping in the backseat of a running truck on the east side of Des Moines when the truck was stolen.  After a frantic search across the city, the truck was found abandoned on a nearby street with the unharmed child still inside.

Police say things easily could have gone much worse.  They say this is an easily avoidable situation.

"It happens all winter long that people leave their cars running and then they're surprised when they come out and they're stolen," says Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department, "You add that layer that there's a child in it and its almost incomprehensible at times that you're gonna do that ... the lesson that people need to take away from this ... is that things change in a second and that fast and your most valuable assets are gone."

Parizek says social media and help from the public is to thank for the quick work to find the missing child.

"We were able to get the information out within minutes and that's one of the things, social media is so awesome because we get the neighborhoods and the community engaged like that, " Parizek says, "we can share it among cops in real time as we talk on our radios, but to get the community engaged that fast with social media and the news media, that makes a big difference in us solving these."

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