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A thief took this Grand Am from this driveway in Saskatoon Monday night. Three children were inside at the time. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

Three children in Saskatoon had a scary ride Monday night with a car thief who may have been drunk.

Police said the adult who had been with them — their father — briefly left them in a Pontiac Grand Am with its motor running in a driveway on the 100 block of Ruth Street East in the south end of the city.

He went into his ex-wife's home for a minute around 11:20 p.m. CST, and while he was in the house someone jumped into the car and drove away with the three children — a boy, 11, and his two sisters, ages five and three.

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Naomi Lumberjack says she was terrified when she saw a thief drive away with a car that had three of her kids inside. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

The children's mother, Naomi Lumberjack, described her horror as she looked out the window and saw the car backing out of the driveway and racing down the street.

"I was freaking out," she said. "I couldn't even call 911. A friend had to call for me."

About seven blocks away, the suspect, described as a man in his 20s, let the children out unharmed, close to where some family friends lived.

Police found the vehicle about 1 a.m. with a man at the wheel. They boxed in the car with their vehicles and made an arrest. The suspect, 25, is in custody and faces numerous charges, including:

  • Impaired driving.
  • Refusing a breath test.
  • Possession of stolen property over $5,000.
  • Breach of conditional sentence order.
  • Breach of probation.

Police said there may be additional charges of unlawful confinement of the children and auto theft.

100 ruth street east, saskatoonThe car with three children inside was taken on 100 block of Ruth St. E. in the south end of Saskatoon.

However, they're still not certain the man they arrested is the same man who took the car with the children inside. Their investigation continues.

The man who was arrested was scheduled to appear in Saskatoon provincial court Tuesday morning.

Lumberjack said the time between the children's disappearance and the call from police telling her they were OK was the longest 20 minutes of her life.

The children asked her "Who was that man?" she said.

"My two little girls are OK," she said. "My son's still kind of shaken up and scared."