Knoxville woman finds stolen car with baby inside

(WBIR-Knoxville) A Knoxville woman described how her Friday morning quickly changed when she spotted a stolen car and the baby inside.

According to Knoxville Police Department (KPD), around 6:30 a.m. Friday the mother left her son in her running car while she went inside the Weigel's on Merchants Drive in Northwest Knoxville.

While she was in the store, a Chevrolet Cavalier pulled up, a man jumped out and then got behind the wheel of the woman's Dodge Neon. The suspect then took off with the four-month-old inside.

About 90 minutes later, KPD found the Dodge Neon with the baby safe inside at a McDonald's parking lot on Hardin Valley Road in West Knox County.

Margaret Ann Jeffries reported the car after noticing while in the McDonald's drive-thru.

Jeffries had been listening to Star 102.1 in the morning and had heard reports with the missing car's description. Before heading to work at Pellissippi State Community College, she stopped at the McDonald's across the street.

Jeffries spent less than four minutes in the drive-thru, but it was enough time to notice a Dodge Neon. The license plate matched the stolen vehicle's.

"I was scared, I was nervous; my knees had turned to jelly. So I called and said, 'I think I have just located the Dodge Neon that you all are looking for,'" Jeffries recalled.

After making the call to 911, Jeffries parked across the street and kept an eye on the vehicle.

"The 911 operator calls me and asks if I feel comfortable getting out and going to look at the car and I said, 'Absolutely, absolutely I will go look at the car,'" Jeffries said. "I walked up to the car. It was still running. I looked in the back seat and the baby was asleep."

Police arrived quickly after Jeffries confirmed the baby was inside the vehicle.

"That certainly puts a mother's heart at ease. I was very grateful and glad for the mother that this day ended well for her," Jeffries said.

Jeffries is also a mother of two children. She is the dean of engineering and media technologies at Pellissippi State Technical Community College.

Officials are still searching for a Chevrolet Cavalier they believe the suspect may have gotten away in.

KPD said the suspect has blonde hair and a scruffy goatee. He is possibly 6-feet-tall and weighs about 150 lbs. The suspect could be wearing a gray or green hoodie and blue jeans.


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