You'd think Beard's example would prevent others from making a similar mistake. But no: Last night in Commerce City, another vehicle theft turned into an inadvertent kidnapping -- and cops say tragedy was narrowly averted.
Details and a map of the area below.
At about 7:45 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Commerce City Police Department, officers were dispatched to the 6000 block of Parkway Drive, in a busy commercial area seen here....
...on a report of a kidnapping.
Investigators say that while a thus-far-unidentified woman was picking out items in a Walmart at 5990 Dahlia Street, her husband (also not ID'd) took their two small children and drove the family's 2012 Dodge Ram truck to a nearby liquor store.
Rather than taking the kids into the business with him, he left them in the truck with the doors unlocked and the engine still running.
This scenario was an invitation to a theft -- and sure enough, someone climbed into the truck and drove it away, presumably unaware, at least initially, of the human cargo it contained.
Fortunately, what the CCPD calls a potentially tragic situation had a happy ending. About an hour after the truck was snatched, someone called 911 and told the operator that the truck had been left in an Adams County location and the kids were safe. Authorities immediately raced to the spot and found that this was true.
Shortly thereafter, the parents and the kids were reunited, but the cops stress that the investigation is continuing. In the case noted at the outset of the piece, Takai Beard, from Colorado Springs, was given a summons for child abuse (neglect) and violating the unattended-motor-vehicle statute, which reads in part:
No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition and removing the key, or when standing upon any perceptible grade without effectively setting the brake and turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
Could charges like these be in the latest couple's future? Maybe so. In the meantime, let's hope the second lesson of this sort prevents a crime that might not work out so well....
Here's an interactive graphic of the area near the scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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More from our Schmuck of the Week archive circa February: "Takai Beard makes schmucky decision to leave her kids in running car -- which was then stolen."