NEW YORK -- Police are searching for a man who stole a vehicle in New York City with an 11-year-old boy inside, and the victims are speaking out about the harrowing ordeal.
David Perez said he left his son, Daniel, in an SUV while he ran into a grocery store in East Harlem on Sunday when an unknown man drove off with his car and child.
"He sent me a text saying, 'Dad, help,' and that just took me; it made it real," Perez said. "He's hysterically crying, and he says, 'Dad please come get me, please come get me, this guy took your car.'"
About 20 minutes later, the man let Daniel out of the car on a corner, but not before a terrifying ride.
"He was doing like 100 on the freeway, and he crashed twice," Daniel said.
RELATED: Burnside shooting seriously injures delivery driver after would-be thieves couldn't drive stick: CPD
Once outside the vehicle, Daniel used his cellphone to call his father and tell him his location.
"Luckily I got a video call from my son," David said. "I picked up, and my son was outside the car."
Daniel was texting his dad during the car theft and was terrified, while David was tracking his son's iPhone in a police car trying to catch up.
"I'm still kind of traumatized," Daniel said.
David begged other parents to learn from his mistakes.
"Don't ever leave your kid unattended in the car, not even for one minute," he said.
RELATED: Chicago crime: Vehicle stolen with 4-year-old inside, police say
Still, he insists his son, Daniel, who offered his own advice to parents, is the hero.
"Get (your) kids a phone if they don't have one," he said. "And always take the key out of the car."
Daniel was taken with minor neck pain from the crashes to a Harlem hospital, where he was treated and released.
That same night, police said the suspect was seen inside a BP gas station, stealing a cell phone charger.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
Car stolen from New York City grocery store parking lot with boy, 11, inside; victims speak out
New York City police still searching for suspect
More TOP STORIES News