(credit; CBS)

(credit; CBS)

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Commerce City police say a tragedy was avoided after they found two young children who had been kidnapped Sunday evening.

Police said the children’s mother was dropped off at the Walmart on Dahlia Street at approximately 7:45 p.m. and their father drove to a liquor store on Parkway Drive and went inside. He left the car running and unlocked and a thief hopped in and fled with the two children inside.

READ MORE: Lane Closures Planned Near I-25 North Express Lane Project

Liquor store owner Russell Zahid was with the father when he called police.

“”He was frantic, you know, he lost his (kids) and he was like crying loud, he was crying loud,” Zahid said.

READ MORE: Log Lane Village Police Chief Jason Katz Arrested For Assault, Domestic Violence

About an hour later police got a 911 call telling them there was a Dodge Ram with two children inside left in Adams County. They found them near 82nd and Pearl where neighbors watched as police swarmed the area.

Police said they don’t know who called, raising the possibility it was the car thief. Police said the female caller called from a pay phone at a 7-Eleven.

The children are back with their parents.

MORE NEWS: Female Bicyclist Killed By Car In Lakewood, Driver Arrested For Impaired Driving

Police advise parents to not leave children unattended in vehicles.