"Me personally, having two kids, I wouldn't have done it," said Altwan Davis of Rochester.
Owens, a 26-year-old from Irondequoit, left his sleeping six-year-old boy in an unlocked car with the engine running while he went inside the Smart Mart to get something to drink around 10:30 Saturday night. The car was stolen with the sleeping boy inside. "Sometimes you make mistakes and you should get punnished for it," said Davis.
Police used the signal off of Owens' cell phone, which was still in the car, to locate the vehicle on Garson Avenue about a half an hour after it was stolen. The car was abandoned with the child still asleep, and unharmed. "He should face some kind of consequence," said Ashlei Howard of Rochester about Owens. "That wasn't being responsible."
Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden disagrees. The Chair of the City's Public Safety Committee does not believe Owens should have been ticketed. "I think it was traumatic enough having your car stolen and your kid go missing, and that we would actually do that to me is beyond belief right now that we would do that to someone," he said.
McFadden believes Owens made a decision that lots of parents make. "It's the wintertime, I mean, do we expect all the kids to get out of the car? Let's be real," he said.
McFadden argued police should focus their energy on the person who stole the car, instead of Owens. But there's also a lesson for all parents. "Just be safe, keep your eyes open, keep your eyes peeled for things, that's all," said Davis.
Police are using surveillance video from the Smart Mart to help locate the person who stole the car. The appearance ticket for Owens, endangering the welfare of a child, is a misdemeanor. He's due in city court February 28.