By LOLA ALAPO, KnoxNews.com
Knoxville, Tenn. police are trying to sort out a bizarre car theft and kidnapping that occurred Sunday evening at a Mechanicsville gas station.
The incident occurred at 7:11 p.m. at the Pilot gas station on the corner of Western Avenue and Middlebrook Pike.
According to store clerk Bassamba Sao, a woman came into the store to buy something to drink and also a toy car. She had left her green Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle running in the parking lot and her son inside the vehicle.
Authorities say witnesses described seeing a white male wearing a jean jacket hovering around the front of the store. One witness said the man got into the Explorer car and drove off with the 5-year-old still inside, said Knoxville Police Department Lt. Greg Hoskins.
"The woman went outside, and she was screaming," Sao said.
Store manager Jomo Kinch called the police. When authorities stopped the Explorer on Major Avenue near Western around 9:15 p.m., a black woman was driving it.
Authorities at the scene said the woman told them she found the SUV at a gas station on Baxter Avenue. The woman told police she got into the vehicle with the intention of taking it to the police station, officials said.
"She said she saw the kid crying," one officer said.
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The boy was taken to East Tennessee Children's Hospital as a precaution. Hoskins said the child appeared unharmed. Authorities took the woman to the police station for questioning.