The kids are now safe. Carjacking thief who abducted 2 toddlers still at large.

This was a HUGE story late Saturday night in San Francisco. A thief drove off with a van in which two toddlers were seated while their father made a food delivery.

Social media, law enforcement and the media all swung into action. Several hours later the toddlers were found safe and unharmed miles away in the vehicle.

A lot of credit for sounding the alarm goes to my friend Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, a San Francisco native, reporter now working at the local station KQED. Joe was relentless in rallying the public.

The father is a gig worker who was forced, due to the low wage, forced to have his kids with him while he worked. This story is more than just solving a crime. It is a lesson on the disruption the current Pandemic economy is doing to families.

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 2.7.2021

Child abduction I 2.7.2021

San Francisco police officers found two missing children early Sunday after their father’s SUV was stolen while they were inside.

Police said Jeffery Fang left his silver Honda Odyssey parked on the 2100 block of Jackson Street with the engine running while he made a DoorDash food delivery at 8:47 p.m. Saturday. His two young children — a 1-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl — were in the vehicle when it was stolen, police said.

Police said around 1:15 a.m. they found the children, who were safe, along with the vehicle in the Bayview district.

“Children have been located and are safe! Medical attention summoned just as a precaution,” said David Lazar, deputy chief of the investigations bureau, on Twitter.

Fang, whose only source of income is from the gig economy, said he does not earn enough to hire a babysitter to watch his children and that he is also wary of them potentially contracting the coronavirus from caretakers. Typical day care hours are also inconsistent with peak food delivery times, which net the highest profits for workers.

With limited options, Fang decided that the best and safest thing to do was to take his children with him while he worked.

California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert for San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Marin, and Santa Clara counties shortly before 11 p.m. and police mobilized all available units, including motorcycle, traffic enforcement and dirt bikes, to search for the children, who were identified as Winnifred Fang and Sean Fang.

The carjacking suspect is male, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes, around 20 to 30 years old, and should be considered armed and dangerous, California Highway Patrol said. Police said he was remains at large.

“Doordash pays workers below min wage. This leads to workers & their families not able to afford childcare. This is on @doordash,” Gig Workers Rising, a community of app and platform workers organizing for better wages, working conditions and jobs, said in a tweet Sunday.

“As a gig economy worker, the money stops the minute you stop working, and the pay is already low enough as it is,” Fang said. “You’re not obligated to work more than you want, but in order to make ends meet, there are only certain hours good enough for you to really be out there.”

It’s a dilemma for many parents of younger children, especially those who are in the gig economy or those who work hours outside of the typical 9 to 5, said Mary Ignatius of Parent Voices, a parent-led organization that advocates for accessible and affordable child care.

“It was panic and fear, and I needed to do something to get them back,” Fang said Sunday. “I just had to find them.”