KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A carjacking happened in northwest Knoxville Thursday morning.
Investigators reported to the scene at Home Federal Bank at 501 Merchants Road around 7:15 a.m. According to the report, the victim was getting cash from the ATM when two men approached him. The victim says the men asked for a lighter, but he said he did not have one. The suspects took out a black semi-automatic handgun and told the victim to give them his black 2015 Nissan Frontier X-Cab truck.
The victim ran to the nearby Pilot gas station and called 911.
According to the report, the victim’s truck has a wheelchair left in the bed and has the a Tennessee license plate: Y11-76D. Investigators believe the suspects are black males in their early 20s. One is described as wearing tan pants and a blue zip-up hoodie. The other suspect was last seen wearing a black and grey t-shirt with red writing, blue jeans. Investigators believe the suspect has an afro hairstyle.
Knoxville police say carjackings are very rare, but many who work and run errands around Merchant Drive are worried it could happen to them.
“It makes me sick to my stomach,” said Tom Maciejewski.
His wife was dropping their daughters off at daycare, which is next door to Home Federal Bank, when he heard there was a carjacking.
“I got on the phone to try and get a hold of her because it’s literally within a couple hundred feet,” said Maciejewski.
Thankfully everyone in the family was okay.
“It’s scary because you never know, especially when someone is coming up to you. I try to keep a distance but my worry is my wife,” added Maciejewski.
Other business owners on Merchants Drive say their staff was shaken up hearing the news.
“When it’s close to home you worry, you double check all the things you’re doing, make sure you’re doing it right,” said Larry Clark who owns Sugarbakers Cake, Candy and Weddings Supplies.
When there are after-hours classes at Sugarbakers, workers say their parking lot is well lit and they’ve installed security cameras.
“We all kind of know some policies, what not to do, what to do, when to lock the doors, look around before you leave,” said Clark.
So many thankful that this time, no one was hurt.
“It basically comes down to we have to be a lot more vigilant now than what I believe in the past,” said Maciejewski.
Police says if you find yourself in a similar situation, keep your doors locked, blow your horn to draw attention. If you are sitting still and do not see a gun and it it safe to do so, drive away. If it is at night and you are in a parking lot, park in a well lit area and close to the door of the business. If the suspect enters the car, get out and do not resist. The car can be replaced; your life cannot.