A Calgary father is grateful his children are safe after a stranger entered his truck with his two young daughters alone inside.

Mike Ashworth left his vehicle running in his driveway after buckling in his two and five-year-old girls on Friday morning. Realizing he forgot to bring a diaper bag, he dashed back inside the house.

While he was gone, security footage from a neighbour’s residence captured a white SUV stopping on the street a few houses away. A passenger exits the vehicle, enters Ashworth’s truck, and lingers inside for a moment before running back to the SUV and driving away.

Ashworth said he returned to his truck, unaware of what happened, to find his oldest daughter shaking and visibly upset.

“She said a man came inside the vehicle. I was like, ‘What man?’” he told CTV Calgary. “She was like, ‘Daddy, he came in the vehicle and said he is going to take us.’”

The surveillance footage has been handed over to Calgary police and an investigation is underway.

“There are people that go out looking for cars that are left unattended,” said Calgary Police Cst. Cody Phillips. “It could very well be just a crime of opportunity.”

Police say between seven and 10 vehicles are stolen in Calgary every day, and nearly 25 per cent are cases where keys are left in the ignition.

Ashworth said he is glad the would-be thief left his children unharmed.

“I’m just happy that he didn’t decide to take the vehicle with the kids in it,” he said. “It could have been a heck of a lot worse than it was.”

With a report from CTV Calgary’s Kathy Le