Someone briefly stole a van with four sleeping children inside it early Sunday before abandoning it in the South Chicago neighborhood.

Shortly after midnight, the person jumped into the van as it was idling at a gas station at 8903 S. South Chicago Avenue, according to Chicago police. The parents of the children, who ranged from age 3 to 14, were inside the gas station making a purchase at the time.

The parents walked out to their van and saw it was missing, according to police. Someone told them a male person had entered the van and driven away with it.

Officers found the van, now abandoned, minutes later less than a block away on Saginaw Avenue, police said. The children were still asleep in their seats.

The carjacker had left the scene, police said. Area South detectives were investigating the incident.