‘He’s blessed:’ Mother grateful son is safe after SUV is stolen with him inside

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police are looking for a man they say stole an SUV with a juvenile inside.

Police say a man stole Ebonee Ridley's SUV with her 13-year-old son asleep in the backseat.

"I saw the tail part of my car going down Covington Pike," she said.

Ridley was picking up her dog from the vet's office in Raleigh Wednesday afternoon. She left the vehicle running and the driver's side door unlocked.

"It's a mistake that I knew I shouldn't have done."

She says she watched the vehicle through the window until her dog came out.

That's when I took my eyes off my son."

Police say the suspect drove 11 miles to a stretch of Harvester Lane in Frayser and asked the teen to get out. When the teen refused, the suspect walked around the passenger side, opened the door and essentially threw the teen out.

The teen was unable to text anyone during the ordeal, because his mom had taken his phone away to stop him from getting distracted at school.

It was a well-intentioned move that backfired.

"I will give him that phone from now on for emergencies like this, because if I could have just texted him I could have had some sort of communication," she said.

Police released surveillance footage of the suspect in hopes of identifying him.

All things considered, Ridley is grateful her son is alive.

"Children don't come back up too often. Mine was the luckiest one. He's blessed," the mother said.

She says she won't leave any of her children in an unattended vehicle again.

"That's one mistake I'll never make again. I don't care how old you are. You can be 17."

Ridley says she isn't sure why her son wouldn't get out of the SUV. She thinks he was likely in shock.