CHICAGO — Police are searching for the offenders who stole a 52-year-old man’s vehicle from a South Side gas station with his 6-year-old grandson still inside.

Police said the incident happened just before 8 a.m. Thursday in the 6600 block of South Wentworth in the Englewood neighborhood.

The man told WGN he was driving his grandson to school and stopped at a gas station on the way.

According to police, the man left his Toyota Camry unattended with the 6-year-old boy inside, when three men entered the vehicle and fled the scene.

“I left the car running but I had the keys with me,” Keith Cowan said. “I figured I could just run in, grab his little snack and run on out.”

Cowan said the gas station attendant warned him to be careful of the three males that were in line before him, saying they’re known to be trouble.

When he ran outside, he said his heart dropped.

“My car was gone and my grandson was in the back,” Cowan said. “I was just so frightened. I was scared. I was kind of screaming and hollering.”

Shortly after, the offenders crashed into a fence in the 6800 block of South Perry. The driver then fled on foot in an unknown direction.

Police said the 6-year-old was located safely inside the vehicle. No injuries were reported.

“I thank God that he’s safe,” Cowan said. “Anything else, I don’t care about the car. I’m just glad he’s safe.”

No one is in custody at this time and Area One detectives are investigating.

Police said they believe three suspects were involved in stealing the car, but it’s not clear how many were in it when it crashed.

Brenda Martinez lives in the home where the crash happened and said she is glad everyone is safe.

She hopes those allegedly involved will think about the consequences their actions could have had.

“Those boys that are taking the wrong route, we have to pray for them,” Martinez said.

Martinez said her family member allegedly had his car stolen from outside their home just weeks before.

“A few guys stole his car with a gun,” Daniel Herra said. “They took his wallet, cell phone and they tried to shoot him.”

Area residents said they hope to see more patrols in light of recent events.

As for the boy, his family told us they would be taking him to get evaluated at the hospital, just to be safe.