An armed man let three children out of their mother’s SUV after stealing it in Philadelphia early Thursday evening.
Shortly after 6 p.m., police responded to a 911 call reporting an armed carjacking on the 5300 block of Willows Avenue. When they arrived they were met by a woman who told them she parked her Toyota SUV on Willows Avenue and went into a friend’s house but left the vehicle running with her three children, ages 14, 5 and 3, in the backseat.
When she came out of her friend’s home, she found her three children alone and her vehicle gone. The kids told their mother that a gunman hopped inside the running SUV and was about to drive off when they asked him to let them out. The gunman pulled over and let the children out before driving off. The kids were not hurt during the incident.
Responding police officers later found the SUV about three blocks away on the 5500 block of Malcolm Street. The vehicle was empty and the woman’s purse was gone, investigators said. They continue to search for the thief.
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“Our newly formed carjacking investigating unit is actually going to process this crime scene,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said. “They dusted the vehicle for prints and swabbed it for DNA evidence.”
The city has been dealing with a recent spike in carjackings this year. More than 150 carjackings have been reported in Philadelphia in 2022 including an incident Sunday night in which a man was shot and killed while visiting his mother.