‘I just started screaming’: Mother recalls terrifying moment thief stole car with daughter inside

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/CNN) - A mother in Minneapolis never imagined something like putting air in her tires would lead to every parent’s nightmare, as a thief stole her car and drove off with her daughter still in the back seat.

Jannah Almalki is grateful her 4-year-old daughter Noora is safe after a carjacker drove off with the mother's car and Noora in the back seat. (Source: WCCO/CNN)

Mother Jannah Almalki says she was filling up the rear passenger tire of her car Monday morning at a Minneapolis gas station when she noticed the weight shift.

“I felt something heavy weigh down my car, and then, my car door slammed. I was thinking, ‘No way that was my daughter.’ At that point, I realized my car is getting stolen,” she said.

As the thief put the car in reverse, Almalki frantically tried to open the doors and get her 4-year-old daughter Noora, who was in the back seat, to safety. But the doors were locked.

“The car drove off, and I just started screaming at the top of my lungs, ‘My daughter! Someone help me. My baby,” Almalki said. “I literally felt like I was watching a horror movie, but I was actually living it."

The mother and other witnesses began to run after the vehicle, as the thief drove into a nearby grocery store parking lot. Then, he stopped and did something unexpected.

“[He] took her out of the car seat and put her outside of the car. I ran up to my daughter and squeezed her and collapsed to the floor, crying,” Almalki said.

Noora was also crying but relieved to be reunited with her mother. It turns out she had some choice words for the thief when they were in the car together.

“That's my mom's car. Give her her car back,” Noora said.

Police later found Almalki’s car. The car itself was fine, but the thief did make off with her laptop, wallet and cell phone. No one has been arrested in the case.

“I didn't care about my car. Take my car. Take whatever you want. But [my daughter] is irreplaceable. So, I'm just happy that she's OK, and she's still here,” Almalki said.

Almalki says next time she puts air in her tires, no matter how cold it is, she will turn off her car and lock it as she does so.

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