Elderly Man and Girlfriend Abducted, Robbed of Money for Rental Cars

For six hours on Thursday, an 86-year-old Philadelphia man and his 55-year-old girlfriend were held hostage by a group of people bent on getting cash for rental cars, police said.

George Saunders and Priscilla Jones were walking down Pennsgrove Street in West Philadelphia when they were abducted and thrown into a van, the couple and detectives tell NBC10.

"[We were] going to get some groceries for the kids, some breakfast food for the kids," Saunders said.

"I don't know these people, they could do anything to us, so what I did -- I prayed. I kept praying," Jones recalled. "I was angry with the way they treated us."

The couple were driven to the TD Bank at 4th and Market Streets in Old City to open a checking account, they said.

Saunders, a Korean War veteran, was forced, he said, to deposit $600 into the new account and was given a new debit card on the spot.

The couple was eventually set free without being harmed and the alleged abductors used the debit card to rent two cars, police said.

Investigators believe the group planned to commit crimes using those cars so that they could be ditched and not be traced back to them — rather the elderly man.

"This was well planned and well thought out," Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker said.

The scheme unraveled on Friday, however, after police used GPS to track the cars. Two people were arrested in Pennsylvania by state police. They were later identified as 23-year-old Vashti Williams and Damon Cornish, 25, both of Philadelphia.

They're charged with robbery, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and related offenses, police said.

Three others were stopped while driving toward New York along New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury, police said.

All five are being transported back to Philadelphia Police's Southwest Detective Division for questioning.

Police are still looking for a sixth person, a woman, in connection with the abduction and robbery.

While not physically harmed, Saunders and Jones are more hesitant of heading out for a walk.

"I feel lucky," Saunders said. "And angry too."

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