Mom cited for child neglect after thief steals puffer car with two small children inside

Thief spots kids in backseat, flees stolen car

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A mother in Colorado Springs watched a car thief drive away with her children Wednesday morning, but fortunately the man didn't go far.

The mother, Takai Beard, told police that she left her two young children in her car while she ran inside a Walgreens Drug Store for baby formula. She left the car running and unlocked.

When Beard came back minutes later, her car, with her 3-year-old son and 8-month-old daughter in the back, was gone.

"The car wasn't even there anymore, I kind of went into shock for a quick second," Beard said.

Police said in those few minutes, a thief saw an opportunity and took it.  He didn't even make it out of the lot when he noticed those kids in the back, pulled over and ran.

Beard said her son told the man,  "My mommy's coming," and that's when the thief looked back and stopped the car.

When police showed up, Beard said she went from victim to suspect.  Police cited her for child neglect and then booked her into jail on an unrelated old warrant.

"They're putting it out there that they arrested me because of child neglect. No, I was arrested because of an old warrant and I want people to know that," Beard said.

7NEWS checked, while Beard does have a criminal record dating back to 2004, she doesn't have any previous child neglect cases. She now wants to clear her name and let people know she's learned her lesson.

"I'm not a bad mother. I would never intentionally put my babies in harm."

Police warn drivers every winter about leaving cars with the engines running in driveways and parked on the street.  Police refer to them as "puffer cars."   The state law prohibiting this practice is called the "Puffer Law."

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