A San Diego police cruiser
A San Diego police cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

An auto thief stole a car containing two young children from outside a Lincoln Park cell phone store Monday and fled to the U.S.- Mexico border, where federal agents arrested her and rescued the unharmed youngsters.

The father of the 8-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy parked his gold Hyundai Excel outside the Cricket Wireless shop in the 200 block of Euclid Avenue about 12:15 p.m. and went into the business by himself, leaving the vehicle unlocked and its engine running, according to San Diego police.

Moments later, a woman who appeared to be in her late teens got into the car and drove off to the east on Imperial Avenue with the children still inside, Officer Luis Roman said.

Police searched for the stolen car and missing children until shortly before 2 p.m., when the Hyundai arrived at San Ysidro Port of Entry at the southern terminus of Interstate 5. There, federal agents who had gotten a be-on-the-lookout bulletin regarding the auto theft and kidnapping took the driver — whose name was not immediately available — into custody without incident.

Authorities then reunited the children, who had suffered no injuries during the ordeal, with their father and returned his car to him, Roman said.

— City News Service