At about 5:40 a.m., the girl's father stopped at a gas station at Imperial Avenue and Carlson Boulevard.
The father left the child in his car, a Cadillac, with the keys in the ignition while he went into the gas station to pay, French said.
While he was inside, a white Dodge Caravan pulled up and a male got out, entered the Cadillac and drove away, French said.
The father immediately called police and reported the kidnapping. Police found the child at 41st Street and Roosevelt Avenue at 6:07 a.m. She was not hurt, French said.
At about 7:15 a.m., police located the stolen Cadillac in the 700 block of 39th Street.
Police are still searching for the suspect, who was described only as a black male wearing a black baseball cap.
"We are treating this as a kidnapping," French said, although she said investigators believe that the suspect probably didn't know that the child was in the car when he stole it.