The man had left his silver Acura running in front of his Capitol Hill home for an instant, to run inside his rowhouse to retrieve his son and grab a snack. That’s all the time it took for someone to jump in the car and drive off. Hours later, the thieves returned and stole the man’s other vehicle.

And just like that, a family was out of transportation.

D.C. police are searching for two Acuras — a four-door sedan and a gray SUV — taken last week from the same block on F Street NE and owned by the same couple.

Police statistics show that there has been a spate of 15 car thefts in January in the patrol area where the couple’s home is located, roughly from Stanton Park north to Gallaudet University. Eleven of the car thefts occurred south of G Street NE, several along Maryland Avenue. Police say 56 cars were stolen in that patrol area in 2014.

D.C. Police Cmdr. Jeff L. Brown, who runs the 1st District station, attributed the rash of car thefts to people he said are using the vehicles to commit other crimes, mainly robberies, in areas such as Brookland, Trinidad, and in some areas east of the Anacostia River.

“They come into an area and steal multiple cars and then use those cars to commit crimes,” Brown said, adding that officers have made at least two arrests and recovered some vehicles, though not in the couple’s case. “We think that might be going on again.” Brown called the number of thefts “a huge increase” and said he is taking steps to bring it under control. “We’re definitely concerned about it,” he said.

The couple’s bad luck began Thursday morning when the 36-year-old father of two retrieved his silver Acura and parked it in front of his house. The temperature was well below freezing, and he left the car running and unlocked, as he rushed inside to get his youngest son, who was sitting in the doorway. He grabbed some snacks in the kitchen, and when he returned the car was gone.

“I was standing there dumbfounded for a second,” said the owner, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no arrest has been made. He said a neighbor saw a dark gray Volkswagen Jetta pull up in front of his Acura. A passenger jumped out of the Jetta and got into the Acura, and both cars drove off. He said a surveillance video captured the incident.

“The cars sped up F Street, went north on Sixth Street, west on G, and that was the last anybody saw of the vehicles,” the man said.

The couple changed the locks to their house and installed a security system. On Thursday night, the man’s wife returned home with their second Acura and parked it on the street. Friday morning, as her husband prepared for day care, he found the SUV gone as well. The clicker for that car was on the key ring from the Acura stolen on Thursday, and the owner thinks someone walked up and down the street clicking until a door unlocked.