VIRGINIA BEACH , Va. -- A Virginia Beach firefighter whose vehicle was stolen in Sandbridge has been reunited with the car just hours after NewsChannel 3's story aired.
"I'm super happy to have my car back. I got most of my belongings back so that was definitely a great thing," said Jon Elliot.
Elliot left his car unattended for less than a minute at the fire station off Sandbridge Road, but that's all the time crooks needed to steal his car. Early Tuesday morning, Elliot got the call he waited for all day Monday. His car was recovered and it only had minor cosmetic damages, thanks to a citizen who kept her eyes open.
"Once she saw the story, she made an effort to go through the fire department and get in touch with me. I was grateful she took the time to do that and kind of give me her side of the story and allowed me to put the detective in touch with her to follow up," said Elliot.
Elliot has been a firefighter for 13 years. He's seen a lot of things, but never anything as brazen as stealing a car in broad daylight at a fire station.
"I had one bag left, I went inside, grabbed my last bag and when I came out, my car was gone," said Elliot.
Elliot just worked an overnight shift to earn overtime. He was packing up his gear to work another shift at Company 13. He says he was gone for 30 seconds to a minute.
"For someone to come to a fire station, just hop in, take off with a car that they have to know is a firefighter's car...that's pretty discouraging," said Elliot.
Elliot took to Facebook, posting a photo of his newly purchased gray Acura saying, "I know it's a long shot, but please keep an eye out for my car..."
Elliot said that's been the most positive thing about his day.
"The fact that it's taken off and it's just spread throughout the community, throughout my friends and their friends and their friends and the fire communities from multiple departments, that part has been encouraging for sure," said Elliot.
The post was shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook.
Captain Raymond Chisnell from the Virginia Beach Fire Department said, "Jon is a great firefighter, good man, he'll do anything for anybody, if somebody was here and needed a ride, he probably would have given the man a ride."
Elliot's car was involved in a hit and run in Chesapeake Monday afternoon. After it was processed by the police department, it was back in his driveway before the sun came up.
He says his personal belongings are scattered around and his computer, a computer with several uniforms, and some sentimental items were stolen.
Despite the losses, he's happy the car was found and returned, but there is one thing he'll never do again.
"From here on out, no matter where I'm at, I can promise the keys won't be in my car unless I'm in it," said Elliot.