A cook, a stolen car, a missing shoe and one epic chase

As a cook at Keys Café and Bakery in downtown St. Paul, Tyree Drakeford is used to running plates of food through the kitchen and dining room, but that's nothing compared to the marathon he finished to catch a car thief over the weekend.

"Like a movie -- it got my blood pumping man. It feels like it should be a workout plan or something,” he said.

When Drakeford saw someone drive off with the Dodge Charger he'd borrowed from a friend in the parking lot behind Keys on Saturday afternoon, he immediately ran after the car. He caught up to the Charger a couple of blocks away when it stopped at a red light at 7th and Robert Street.

"He looked real surprised when I showed up right next to him,” he laughed.

That’s when Drakeford got in front of the car and told the thief to stop and get out.

"He was shaking his head no, threw it in reverse, hit a car behind him, then he jumped out and told me I could have my car back after that,” Drakeford recalled.

But the chase wasn't over yet. The thief took off on foot through downtown St. Paul into the Town Square mall and up an escalator, where he lost a shoe. Drakeford picked it up and continued chasing him through the skyway system until the thief ran out of gas in front of the old Macy's store, and Drakeford knocked him out while waiting for police.

"He seemed like he was pretty winded. He was an older guy. I mean, I was tired, but I was still ready. I thought we were going to be running forever,” he said. “My first thought was take him down before he takes me down."

Back at Keys, Drakeford says his co-workers have given him a few new nicknames after his big car chase, including Superman, Denzel and Tom Cruise. But he may also get a new accessory to accompany his new superhero status.

"Trade in my apron for a golden cape; just swing around the kitchen with it,” he said.