Carolina Sten, 32, and her mother had parked their car a rest stop along route 23 outside of Växjö on Wednesday morning.
While the mother-daughter pair went to use the toilet, their 70-year-old friend Birgitta remained in the backseat of Sten’s Saab 9-5.
But when the pair returned to the parking lot a few minutes later, the car and Birgitta were nowhere to be found.
“‘Where is Birgitta?’ I thought when I came out from the toilet,” Sten told the Expressen newspaper.
Alarmed at the loss of their car and their friend, Sten and her mother waited anxiously while others at the rest area notified police.
A short time later, Birgitta came walking back along the roadway. The car, however, was still missing.
According to the 70-year-old’s account of events, the thief and a female accomplice had been watching the three women as they pulled into the rest stop, waiting until Sten and her mother left the car.
“Suddenly, an unknown youth jumped in the car,” Eva Saxlund of the Kronoberg County police told Sveriges Television (SVT).
“It’s possible he didn’t see there was a passenger inside.”
After being unable to force Birgitta from out of the Saab, the young thief instead sped away with the 70-year-old woman still in the car.
After driving about a kilometre or two, the thief pulled over and let Birgitta out of the car.
“She was physically unharmed, but thought they had gone a little fast,” Sten told Expressen.
While Birgitta was safe and sound, police have been unable to locate the car or the thieves.