A man allegedly sold his 4-year-old son for $40 worth of crack cocaine, but the boy was rescued hours later by his outraged mother and a helpful neighbor, police and witnesses say.

The boy, George Padilla Jr., was safe at home Monday and his father, George Sr., was in jail, where charges were being prepared.The episode began Saturday night when Padilla, 27, and his son went to the grocery store to get some milk, according to Venilda Romero, the boy's mother.

When Padilla returned at 4 a.m. Sunday he didn't have the boy or the milk. Padilla said the boy had been left with friends, but Romero began weeping and calling neighbors who began a search in the area.