BUENA PARK (CBSLA) — A car thief jumped into an SUV Thursday evening in Anaheim and took off with the vehicle — with two young sisters inside.

The two sisters are safe and sound but the man who stole the vehicle is still on the run.

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“I was protecting my sister and she said thank you and she was hugging me,” said 5-year-old Alexi.

She was in the vehicle with her 4-year-old sister Angel.

From the moment it happened, the older sister looked out for her younger sibling.

The young girl told her story to CBS2’s Stacey Butler.

“I saw him and I told her to lay down on me,” Alexi says, “I was saving my sister of getting hurting.”

Butler asked Alexi if she was scared and got an emphatic “no.” But she said her sister was a little scared. “But I told her, it’s okay, you’re here with me.”

Police said around 6:30 Thursday evening, the girl’s aunt left the children inside the vehicle to run into a nail salon the family is opening in Anaheim — just to say hello to her husband.

“She left it running, came inside, heard the. engine kind of roar up. She screamed and I got a sense immediately it wasn’t a normal scream,” said her husband.

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The suspect jumped into the driver’s seat and took off. The girl’s uncle ran nearly a half a mile after the SUV.

“It was just so surreal that I kept focusing on I have to keep running in that direction until I can’t do anything else,” he said.

The girl’s aunt, who only speaks Vietnamese, screamed for help and began to cry and pray.

Veronica Gomez understood just enough to realize she needed to quickly call 911.

“I’m still shaky. It’s scary. I have two boys. I wouldn’t imagine,” says Gomez.

The suspect stopped the car about a half mile away and then took off running.

The girls were unarmed.

Gomez had to give them entire family a big hug.

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“I’m just so, so happy,” Gomez says.