Mary Jackson hopped out of her idling 1998 Lexus to drop a letter off shortly before 6 p.m. at the post office at 69th Street and Grand Avenue in Maspeth, leaving the youngsters ages 3 and 6 in the back seat, police said.A thief noticed the idling vehicle, jumped in and drove off apparently unaware of his two passengers, police said. He ditched the SUV a few blocks away in a driveway on Jay Avenue near 66th Street, police said. The older girl rang the doorbell of a neighbor's house at about 6:15 p.m."I didn't see anybody at first and then I did open up the door and when I looked out, I saw a young girl who then came running back to my house saying 'I need help. I need help,'" said Marian Russo of 66-55 Jay Ave. "I discovered that she had come out of a van that was parked in a driveway to the left of my home. I asked her where her parents were and she said she didn't know."The girl told Russo she thought the thief was a family friend who was going to drive them home."I mean it was pretty sad," Russo said. "I called the police right away."She brought the girls inside and waited for officers, who showed up with the distraught mother. "The relief on the mother's face ... They reunited. The children were okay," Russo said. Police said there were no arrests in the case. A detective from the 104th Precinct, who did not want to be identified, said that idling cars have been the source of several grand larcenies in the precinct. "People don't even think twice," he said. "You walk five feet away to go do something. You don't expect somebody to jump in the car." Leaving a car idling can be especially dangerous with children inside, he said. "Some people don't know better," the detective said. "What if they slip it into gear?"Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2005 Community News Group
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