Attempted car thief in Knoxville leaves 2-year-old son behind

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Deputies say a man was trying to steal a car in South Knox County ran when the owner confronted him, leaving behind his 2-year-old son in the back seat of the car he was trying to hot wire.

Bradley Lee, 25, is charged with possession of a handgun, attempted theft, vandalism and auto burglary, and child abuse/neglect/endangerment.

Deputies say Lee told them he ran out of gas and left his pick-up truck on Maryville Pike shortly before 6 a.m. They say he then broke into a car in a driveway on Walmar Drive and removed the ignition switch. The owner yelled at Lee and he ran.

When officers arrived, they found Lee’s 2-year-old son asleep in the back seat. Officers found Lee’s truck and identified him as the owner. Lee returned to the scene several hours later to check on his son and he was taken into custody.

One neighbor says when she learned there was a child in the car, she wanted to help. 

“I grabbed some toys, and I went over and I had my son grab them and bring them over to him,” said Lindsey Fisk. 

Fisk says she didn’t see the child’s face directly, but when the officers handed him the toy, he grabbed it. 

“He was backed up in the corner, as far as he would go, at the opposite end of the car, like the door. as soon as they took the dinosaur to him, he lunged forward and then went back,” said Fisk. 

Officers also found a gun in the truck that turned out to be reported stolen in Florida. 

Bond for Lee, who is also a convicted felon, is set at $15,500.  The Department of Children’s Services and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office are investigating.

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