A thief who stole a car with a baby still in the rear seat panicked and returned minutes later – to give the child back.
The thief pounced after the woman briefly left three children in her unlocked Renault Scenic.
He pulled one child out and left another standing by the side of the road but sped off unaware another child was in the back seat.
The mother returned to find two unharmed children – but her car and baby missing.
She rang 999 but the crook returned within minutes – driving the wrong way up a one way street – and dumped the baby on the pavement before speeding off again.
Officers are still hunting the carjacker, a man in his 40s, who struck at 11:55am on Saturday in Tiverton, Devon.
One witness said: “The lady was just standing there with the baby still in the car seat, but he was absolutely fine.
“A police car came along and they flagged it down to say what had happened. The mother was really sobbing – it must have been devastating for her.”
After dumping the baby, the thief pulled away for a second time before he crashed the stolen vehicle into a bollard several streets away.
Devon and Cornwall Police are still looking for the stolen motor, registration HN11 YAN.
Detective Sergeant Gus Cottey said: “Thankfully the baby and mother were reunited, but she was understandably distressed.
“If you are leaving your car, even for a short period of time, I would advise people to keep the vehicle locked and secure and to take keys with them.”