An alleged shoplifter who fled the scene of the crime in a getaway car ended up stuck on the footpath after his escape went pear-shaped.

Lunchtime shoppers in Whanganui's Victoria Ave were shocked when a car hit a parked vehicle with a baby inside.

It is believed the driver was trying to escape after an alleged theft in a nearby shop.

After hitting the parked car, the driver mounted the footpath before coming to a stop outside a kebab shop in the central city.

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Whanganui police confirmed they were called to Victoria Ave, between Guyton and Ingestre streets, just after 12.30pm on Thursday.

"Police received a report of an alleged shoplifting incident, following which the person left the scene in a vehicle, hitting another parked vehicle as they left," a spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said no-one was injured in the incident.

People who witnessed the foiled getaway posted on Facebook that a baby and a woman were in the parked car that was hit.

A friend of the people in the parked car said they were unhurt.

It's understood the driver still managed to make a getaway and police say they are looking for him.