Family recovering after vehicle stolen with kids inside

FRESNO, Calif.

Now they're hoping parents learn from their frightening ordeal.

The car was taken from a home on Hulbert near Pinedale. The kids were found minutes later near the corner of Northridge and Arthur, about a mile and half away.

Fresno police and other valley law enforcement agencies are still looking for the family's 2006 Nissan Armada.

The family tells Action News that the four year old girl and six year old boy are doing ok, and they say they learned a tough lesson that everyone can learn from.

It was a frightening 20 minutes for a Northwest Fresno family.

Two children were taken from their relative's home when a man stole their family's SUV Friday night.

Action News was there when the children were reunited with their family.

The children's uncle, Jeff Honda, along with several other family members were standing in front of the home.

They were saying their good-byes following a Thanksgiving celebration.

They watched helplessly as the stolen SUV sped away.

Honda showed Action News where his brother, the children's father, was standing.

"My brother just yelled 'they got my kids, they're stealing our car'," he said.

Less than a minute later, they followed the car thief and the kids.

"We didn't see the car again, it was a very helpless feeling, no knowing which way to turn, thinking this could be the last time you see your kids. My brother was praying the whole time we were in the car," Honda said.

A mile and half away, near Northridge and Arthur, the crook dropped the kids off.

A neighbor found them and called 911. Fresno Police also say a lesson can be learned here.

They say in no situation should a car be left alone with keys in the ignition.

"As this has shown, there can be some very serious consequences," Sgt. John Jensen of the Fresno Police Department said.

Honda says he thought the family was being watchful since they were standing so close to the SUV.

"It isn't close enough to stop somebody from jumping in your vehicle and taking off," he said.

Honda also says he's grateful the thief had enough compassion to drop the kids off in a relatively safe place.

Police are still looking for that car thief.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.