Toddler dumped in snow by car thief: "Help me, I'm cold"

"The Landlord," Will Ferrell's classic Funny Or Die skit, pivots on the hilarity of a toddler knocking at a front door. But there was nothing amusing about the tiny tap, tap, tap and ringing doorbell that awoke Colorado Springs' Traci Gilbert early Sunday morning. That's because the youngster standing before her was caked in snow and sleet as he said, "Help me, I'm cold."

Just past 2 a.m., according to Fox31, the three-year-old boy's father, Anthony Pettiford, stepped out of his still-running 1995 Chrysler to chat with some pals at a Colorado Springs 7-Eleven. At that point, an unidentified man hopped into the car and peeled out, not realizing there was a baby on board.

What did this scofflaw do when he realized he had a passenger? A few blocks away from the 7-Eleven, after he'd escaped from Pettiford and others giving chase, he pulled over and handed the tot a plastic bag; the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that it contained a pair of pajama bottoms, a couple of diapers, some soy milk, a cup and some baby wipes. He then expelled the child from the car and drove away, leaving him outside despite a recent spring storm that had lowered temperatures and splattered the area with wet snow.

This situation could have easily ended in tragedy. But fortunately, the child wound up in front of a duplex whose second-story apartment belonged to Traci Gilbert, who was at home and quickly answered the door. The boy was able to communicate enough of what happened that Gilbert's adult son took him in search of his home. Before long, they encountered a police officer searching for the little one, precipitating a reunion Petitford and his progeny shortly thereafter.

At this writing, the car thief has not been found. If and when he is, you can bet heisting a Chrysler will be the least of his worries. Check out the Fox31 report below.

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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Bret Lee Thompson: Alleged child sex assaulter found sleeping in van behind NJ Walmart."

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