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Article updated: 2/20/2014 5:34 PM

5-year-old Park Ridge boy in Amber Alert found unharmed

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Police are searching for the man who carjacked a woman in Park Ridge Thursday afternoon, driving off in her 2012 Audi Q5 with her 5-year-old son sleeping in the back seat.

The boy was found unharmed about two hours later in a residential neighborhood in Skokie, where the car had been abandoned with the boy inside, Park Ridge Police said.

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Someone who had seen the Amber Alert called 911 after spotting the car near Oakton Street and Laramie Avenue.

Police evidence technicians are currently processing the vehicle for clues.

"I'm very confident we will find out who this is," said Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski.

The case prompted an Amber Alert and a rarely used Wireless Emergency Alert, buzzing the news across smartphones statewide.

According to police, the boy was sleeping in his car seat when his mom left the car running and got out to unload some packages in the alley on the 1700 block of Good Avenue around 12:20 p.m. Thursday.

She told police that a black man in his late teens or early 20s walked up to the running car, got in and drove off toward Northwest Highway. Police said she ran back toward the car and frantically screamed as the man drove off.

As soon as the boy was found, police had him talk to his mother via cellphone, and they were later reunited at the Skokie Police Department.

"The child was in good spirits," Kaminski said.

Thursday's Amber Alert marked one of the first times the Wireless Emergency Alert was issued in the Chicago area since it was added in January 2013, said Illinois Amber Alert Coordinator Craig Burge. The purpose is to spread the word to people who are out and about, since they're more likely to see the suspected vehicle than someone at home.

The Wireless Emergency Alert is not always part of an Amber Alert. It's based on several factors, including available information about the vehicle and time of day. In this case, police had a full vehicle description and license plate, and it was at a time of day when people could spot the car, Burge said.

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