Man charged with kidnapping in alleged theft of car in Salt Lake City with kids inside

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Prosecutors have charged a man accused of stealing a car from a pizza shop and driving away with two young children in the back seat.

The owner of the Chrysler Pacifica left it running with her two nieces, 2 and 3, inside while she was picking up a pizza July 31 at Little Caesar's, 805 S. 900 West, police wrote in charges filed Tuesday. Someone drove the car away while the woman was in the store.

Police later spotted the car at 200 South and 500 West and stopped the driver. The man, 24, was taken into custody. The two girls were found standing up and sobbing in the rear compartment of the car, police wrote.

A witness later reported that the man stopped at a homeless shelter before he was arrested. The witness said he left the girls in the car and went inside briefly before returning and driving away, police wrote.

The man was charged with two counts of first-degree felony kidnapping and second-degree felony theft by receiving stolen property.

Erin Alberty