OROVILLE, Calif. -

The mother of the three young children -- ages one-and-half, three and four -- who were the subject of an AMBER Alert wants Butte County to return her children after they were allegedly abducted by her ex-boyfriend.

Bryce Jones, who lives with her parents and four children, says she was asleep early Thursday morning when neighbors told her that Matthew Kline was seen playing  with her children outside their Oroville home.  She suspects Kline, the biological father of two of the three children, came through the side of the house, got the children and ultimately took them away in his van.

Jones told KRCR that Kline has her permission to see the children on a conditional basis. "If he wants to leave with the kids, I always go with him," said Jones. "He was aware of that., so this was done intentionally."

At one point, the Butte County Sheriff's Office says Kline tried unsuccessfully to steal a car in a parking lot off Clark Road in Paradise across the street from the Paradise Post newspaper.  Managing Editor Rick Silva heard the call on a about a possible abduction.  He stepped outside and snapped a photograph of Kline in the van with the children.

"He waved at us," said Silva who was with two of his reporters at the time. "And we thought that was really weird."

The photo was sent out in efforts to find Kline and the children, but not before Kline allegedly tried to steal two more vehicles.  An AMBER Alert was called.  A short time later, Kline was captured in Yuba City.

The children were immediately taken to a local hospital and are in good condition. But they're staying at Child Protective Services while authorities investigate.

But the children's mother thinks they should be with her right now.  "I know that they're wanting to be home with their mom," said Jones.

Jones acknowledges that authorities were curious why the three children were outside with only Kline present.  "Absolutely, I agree," said Jones. "And my parents would agree, because nobody knew he was outside with the children."

"So, yeah, we didn't know, we just didn't know."

Kline is in Butte County Jail on charges of child abduction child endangerment, burglary, attempted vehicle theft and a drug charge.