Two children briefly taken by carjackers in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood

Two children were briefly kidnapped by carjackers in Chicago on Saturday.

The children, ages 4 and 6, were in the back seat of the car when their mother pulled into a gas station at 75th and South Yates in the South Shore neighborhood around 5:30 p.m.

Their mother says she left the keys in the ignition, and two suspects jumped in.

The little boy and girl were found unharmed standing alone on South Merrill, which is a few blocks away.

"My grandkids are terrified and so is my daughter," said the children's grandmother, Jacqueline Owens. "I am grateful that they are still alive."

The stolen car was recovered.

Is carjacking a problem in Chicago?

Carjackings in Chicago skyrocketed to 1,362 in 2020 — a 105% increase compared to 2019. Chicago police have a carjacking task force.

Chicago police have said the suspects are frequently teenagers. In July, a group of armed kids, some as young as 10, were wanted for more than a dozen carjackings on the South Side. 

On Saturday, a 36-year-old woman, Veronica Harden, was held on $1 million bail in two recent carjackings in the Northwest Side's Albany Park neighborhood. Prosecutors said she drove off with an 8-year-old boy in one incident and throwing a 64-year-old woman out of her vehicle in the other.

A retired firefighter, Dwain Williams, was killed by carjackers in Morgan Park in late 2020.