Car thief drops off kids, poodle after being berated for stealing van

Car thief drops off kids, poodle after being berated for stealing van

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

NEW YORK CITY — A car thief who inadvertently scooped up a minivan with two kids and a poodle inside dropped the kids — and the car — at their home in Queens after the children scolded him for trying to raid the change tray.

The father of the two boys in the would-be stolen van, Sebastian Russo, tells The New York Post the fracas began when he parked his car outside a store on Cross Bay Boulevard to buy a leash for his toy poodle, Colette.

He left the vehicle running. Shortly after Russo entered the store, another man ran in and told him his van had been stolen.

"I panicked and ran out and flagged down a police car," Russo told the paper.

Russo and the officer commenced a frantic search for the children, but it was soon called off when Russo's wife called and told him the van was in their driveway.

The would-be car thief, frustrated by the lack of change in the change tray and the constant yapping of Colette the poodle, asked the kids their address, and dropped them off at home, reports the Post.

Then the thief, who told the kids his name was "Leo," ambled off down their street with his shirt over his face.

"I'm actually very thankful that he brought them home," Russo told the Post. "How mad can we be at him? He returned the car. He told my son, ‘If you weren't in the car, I would've taken it.'"




    Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast