Latest: 10:00 pm, 6/15/17, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) -- A teenager is under arrest, after police say he stole a car with children inside. 18-year old Kevin Lefever was taken into custody without incident. He says he stole the car in Rantoul, not knowing the kids were inside.
Lefever was also arrested Monday for stealing another car in Rantoul. Now families are feeling concerned.
Police were on the hunt for the man who stole a car with children inside. After searching for about 25 minutes, the kids were found near Veteran's Parkway and Chanute Street. They were physically unharmed.
It was later discovered the suspect dropped them off near the Rantoul Youth Center and told them to call police, but this situation is putting families on high alert.
"That would terrify me," says mother, Joya Murphy.
"To leave your kids in the car, then to have somebody take it? Dangerous," says grandparent Mark Busboom.
Since it is dangerous, some say they wouldn't have taken that route. Reportedly, the person watching the kids ran into the school to drop something off.
"I would have probably taken them in with me no matter how short of a time or how long it was," says Busboon.
"That's all it takes, is a second," says Murphy.
It's a second Murphy says she wouldn't chance.
"For just that second, knowing someone was in the car with my precious cargo," states Murphy.
But it's something which reminds her to stay alert.
"Now that this has happened, it just makes me, I don't want to say hyper-vigilant, but it makes me more aware of my surroundings," says Murphy.
Neither the children's mother nor Lefever's father could be reached for comment.
Original: 4:00 pm, 6/15/17, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) -- A teenager is under arrest, after he stole a car with kids inside. 18-year old Kevin Lefever, of Rantoul, was taken into custody.
Police were called to JW Eater Junior High for a report of a stolen car and were advised there were three children in it at the time; ages: 9 months, 5- and 9-years old.
Officers searched the area for the vehicle and children for about 25 minutes before the kids were found near Veteran's Parkway and Chanute Street. The children were described as "visibly shaken, but physically unharmed."
It was later discovered Lefever dropped them off near the Rantoul Youth Center and told them to call police, however the kids started walking back to the area from which they came.
Officers believed the suspect was the same person from two other stolen vehicle reports on June 12, and began checking rural Champaign and Vermilion counties. Officers located the vehicle and followed it into Oakwood, where Vermilion County officers were waiting to help.
Lefever was taken into custody without incident. He says he stole the car not knowing the kids were inside. He was arrested on charges of motor vehicle theft and child endangerment.
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