ROCKLIN, Calif. (KTXL) -- A Ford Explorer was stolen Monday outside a Rocklin auto repair shop with two young girls inside.
Minutes after Knutz Auto and Truck in Rocklin closed around 6 p.m., security cameras picked up motion outside and sent several notifications to the owner's phone.
“I just was like, ‘Man, I’m getting a whole bunch of hits’,” said owner Scott Dwillis. “I’m like, 'Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this happened to my customer.”
Dwillis said a father was there dropping off his utility truck for service with the help of a tow truck. He had his daughters, who were 1 and 5 years old, with him.
“My customer pulls into a parking spot right here. And he walks up to the night drop slip like you can see on the side of my door. Leaves his kids in the car, walks 15 feet away and bam! His car starts backing out. He runs after it and the car is off,” Dwillis said.
Officials identified the alleged carjacker as 33-year-old Charles Hall of Live Oak and say he abandoned the car less than 2 miles away from Thunder Valley Casino. Both girls were inside the car.
“His babies are safe. He’s safe, so that’s the number one priority right now,” Dwillis said. “My heart breaks for these people and this family because nobody wants this to happen to anybody. It could have been any of us.”
Dwillis said he prays the ordeal will serve as a lesson for parents so no other family has to go through it.
“Don’t leave your vehicles running with your kids in them. Take your key with you or whatever even if you’re 10 or 15 feet away. You know, it’s very scary out here,” Dwillis said.
Dwillis said he plans to upgrade his security camera – just in case.
Placer County sheriff’s deputies say Hall was charged with kidnapping, carjacking and auto theft. He had just been released from the South Placer County Jail and will also be charged with committing a felony while out on bail.
Hall remains in jail with a set bail of $480,000 and denied FOX40’s request for an interview.