DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Latonya Roane made the mistake of leaving her keys in the ignition and her doors unlocked when she stepped out of her 2016 Chevy Tahoe to pump gas around 4:20 Sunday afternoon at the QuikTrip on Wesley Chapel Road.
"I want to remind other women not to always be on the lookout for be aware of your surroundings when you're pumping gas," Roane told FOX 5's Portia Bruner.
The DeKalb County wife and mother said she was out of the SUV only a few seconds when a man made a scene to draw her attention to another man who had crouched down to open the back door on the other side where her children were seated.
"He was yelling and screaming as he was walking towards me. And when he got closer to me I realize he was trying to get my attention and talking to me. And that's when I walked around and saw the guy trying to get into my car. Then the guy just got in the car and sped off," Roane said.
Mrs. Roane said her children, ages 5, 9, and 11, were just too startled to scream. That's why she's grateful for the man who put up a fuss and apparently scared off the would-be car thief.
"I had a guardian angel who was watching over me. I don't know who he was but I'm just so thankful that he saw something going wrong and decided to stand up and do something about it. I'm just wish I could tell him thank you," Roane said as she stood not far from the pump where the ordeal unfolded Sunday afternoon.
The spokesman for QT told FOX 5 News the company is thankful everyone is okay. Mike Thornbrugh said all QT locations are monitored 24 hours and said the facilities have been upgraded with "outstanding surveillance equipment."
"We work very closely with law enforcement," Thornbrugh said.
Frequent QT customer Lavar Height hopes someone will tell police who's responsible before someone gets hurt.
"We need to look out for our communities. The bottom line is it may be that we have to turn someone in that we love, but you just got to do what's right. If you see something or know something," said Height, who patronizes the Wesley Chapel gas station several times a week.
Mrs. Roane's message to gas station customers across metro Atlanta is always lock up and look around while you're at the pump.
"You can never let your guard down," Roane said