What to Know
- A teenage carjacker jumped into a pizza deliveryman's minivan late Tuesday night in North Philadelphia and took off, Philadelphia police said.
- The deliveryman's girlfriend and three of their children were in the van at the time. The woman fought back and none of the children were hurt, police said.
- Officers caught up to the carjacking suspect -- later identified as Shaun Triplett -- after he ditched the van, jumped into another car and then hopped out of that car, police said. He was armed with a gun.
A pizza deliveryman, his girlfriend and three children are OK after Philadelphia police said that a teenage carjacker stole the family minivan with the woman and children inside during a food delivery "setup."
Philadelphia police officers initially responded to the report of a carjacking on the 2700 block of North Warnock Street in North Philadelphia around 11 p.m. Tuesday, investigators said.
When officers arrived the pizza deliveryman met them and told them that when he got out of his blue minivan to make a delivery, a person got into the driver's seat and drove off, police said.
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Police notified the aviation unit chopper, which then found a minivan matching the description and began tracking the van.
Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small later explained what was happening in the van as the man's girlfriend fought back.
"She actually got into a physical struggle with this (teen)," Small said. "And, while she was trying to take the mask off his face -- and she was actually punching this individual because he was taking the vehicle -- that was when, according to her, this (teen) started threatening to kill her. She had to jump out of the vehicle."
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The 8-year-old son was let out of the vehicle about a block away and was reunited with the adults. Two other children were asleep in the backseat throughout the incident.
Officers in the chopper then saw a person jump out of the driver's seat of the minivan near North 12th and West Cambria streets and get into a white sedan, police said.
The chopper continued to follow that white sedan to North 31st Street and Euclid Avenue in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood where officers on the ground caught up to the car, Small said.
Police officers then saw a guy matching the carjacker's description jump out of the sedan's passenger seat, Small said. Officers chased the guy down and arrested him about a block away. He turned out to be Shaun Triplett, an 18-year-old with a semi-automatic gun on him, police said.
The pizza deliveryman and his girlfriend identified the teen as the suspect in the initial carjacking, police said.
The deliveryman, his girlfriend and their three children were not seriously injured.
The white sedan used during the teen's escape was stolen in August 2021, police said.
The whole thing appeared to be a setup, Police Deputy Commission Ben Naish said Wednesday afternoon.
Triplett is charged with aggravated assault, robbery, kidnapping, violation of the uniform firearms act, endangering the welfare of a child and other related offenses. It was unclear whether Triplett had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
Carjackings have increased significantly so far in 2022. As of March 14, there have been 262 carjackings with an additional 50 attempted carjackings in Philadelphia, according to police data. As of this same date in 2021 there were 106 carjackings.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.