Two children were unharmed after a suspect stole a vehicle that they were sleeping inside of in the parking lot of Supremefries and More, 2109 Lewis Avenue in Zion, Monday evening. | Photo: Google Street View

Police say a masked suspect stole a car with two children sleeping inside from the parking lot of a restaurant in Zion and then later forced the children out of the car.

The Zion Police Department responded around 6:23 p.m. Monday to Supremefries and More, 2109 Lewis Avenue in Zion, for a report of a vehicle theft.

Officers learned the adult driver of a white 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee got out of the parked car in the parking lot.

The driver entered a business and left two small children asleep inside the Jeep, according to Zion Police Department Lt. Derek Zaloudek.

An offender entered the Jeep and drove away with the two kids still inside.

The suspect drove to another business in the 2200 block of Lewis Avenue where he forced the children to exit, Zaloudek said.

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The Jeep fled southbound on Lewis Avenue.

The suspect was described as a male black in his 20s, wearing a gray sweater and black mask.

The Jeep has damage to the front driver’s door panel and rear passenger window tint.

The Zion Police Department said they remind motorists that vehicle thefts involve offenders seeking targets of opportunity.

The police department said motorists should not leave their cars unlocked or running unattended, especially when children or valuables are inside.

Zaloudek said officers are investigating leads that will hopefully lead to the offender’s arrest and the recovery of the victim’s vehicle.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Zion Police Department at 847-872-8000.