Police found a 20-month-old boy safe after he was taken from the parking lot of a Marina del Rey store, along with his mother's car, on Saturday authorities said.
The auto theft and kidnapping took place about 2:15 p.m. in the 13400 block of Maxella Avenue, just south of Glencoe Avenue, Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Chris Ramirez said.
The mother went inside a store, leaving the toddler inside her vehicle, the lieutenant said. When she returned, the SUV was gone, along with her child.
Officers immediately began canvassing the area for the SUV and child, Capt. Brian Morrison said.
"At one time, we had approximately 16 officers deployed on this incident canvassing the area," he said.
Weather prevented police from searching by helicopter, but officers on the ground spotted the SUV shortly before 5 p.m.abandoned along Lincoln Boulevard, several miles north of where it was stolen from, Morrison said.
The child was in the back seat, crying, police said. The SUV's engine was still running.
"The child is OK. We have paramedics responding just to verify the condition of the child," the captain said.
LAPD officers made the matter a priority, Deputy Chief of Operations for the LAPD's West Bureau, Justin Eisenberg, said.
"That basically became an all hands on deck full court press for the LAPD," he said.
Eisenberg added that he "couldn't be more proud" of the work of the officers who found the child safe.
The auto thief and abductor remained at large.
He was described as a Latino man, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 185 pounds, wearing a black jacket, dark pants and boots.
Police released surveillance camera video that showed the man exiting the car and abandoning it, along with the child.
KTLA's Dottie Evans contributed to this report.