FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) -- A quick trip to Shopko for a Fond du Lac family turned into a nightmare when someone stole their minivan with one of their children inside.
That nine-year-old boy is safe with his family now, and police are looking for the man they say stole the van then let the boy go.
It was about 5 o'clock Monday afternoon outside the Shopko store at 616 West Johnson Street.
"He finds this vehicle, it's running, no one is in it that he thought, door's unlocked, and he gets in and takes the vehicle," Police Captain Pat McKeough described.
But someone was in the van: Nine-year-old Eli Jaschob.
He didn't have any shoes with him, so his mother left him in the car to play a video game on her phone while she and her daughter ran inside.
Mom Holly Jaschob recalls saying, "Here's my cell phone and I'll leave the car running, and we'll just run in and be right back out."
But when she came back, her van and her son were gone.
She ran back into the Shopko store, called police, then called her cell phone. That's when Eli, who was laying down in the back of the van, realized his mom wasn't the one driving.
"I popped my head up, and then he saw me and he said, 'Get out,' and I went out," Eli said.
"I was like, you must be stealing the car, because who else is in the car? And I was just really shocked that it wasn't her driving," he said.
The man, who had driven nearly two miles with Eli, pulled over at the intersection of Military Road and Seymour Street to let the boy out.
"I was scared, kind of, and then so I got out and I just called my brother, and my brother handed it to my dad, and then he went and picked me up," Eli said.
Police say the boy was not threatened and was not hurt. Eli was then reunited with his mother.
"I'm sure it wasn't a long amount of time but it felt like forever that we didn't know if he was OK or what had happened, so just thankful that he let him out," Holly Jaschob said.
"He's OK, and thankfully he was let go, and the van can be replaced," she added.
She also told us, "I could have sworn that I locked the door when I left, but being that the car was running maybe there's a mechanism that doesn't let it lock with he ignition on."
Police have pictures of the suspect from a surveillance camera at a nearby store shortly before the vehicle theft.
He's described as a Hispanic man in his early 20s with short hair on top and shorter hair on the sides. He has tattoos covering both arms, specifically in the area of the right forearm and back of the right hand. Monday he was wearing a plain, black T-shirt; long, black shorts that hung past the knees; and brown, work-type boots.
Police are still looking for him and the minivan, a silver, 2002 Chrysler Town and Country van with Wisconsin license plate IAMOOC.
If you have any information or see this vehicle, call Detective Bill Ledger at 920-322-3723.