Police Hunting for Red Van In Horrific Abduction and Robbery In Center City

It happened over the weekend on 8th Street.

Have you seen this van? Philadelphia police are looking for it in connection with the abduction and robbery of a 53-year-old woman on Saturday in the city.

Just before 4 p.m. on Saturday, a 53-year-old woman was in a parking garage at 733 Chestnut Street, getting ready to enter her car after working at a jewelry store on the 100 block of South 8th Street in Philadelphia. As she was approaching her car, three black men jumped out of the van seen here and threw her into the back.

What happens next is the horrific stuff you might see on an episode of your favorite television crime drama. Unfortunately, it was all too real.

According to police, the men asked her for the keys to the jewelry store as well as for the combinations for the safes inside, but she said that she didn’t know the codes. So they threw a hood over her head and drove around for an hour, punching, kicking, and choking her and shooting her seven times with a taser. They took her ATM card, cash, identification, phone, credit cards and keys to her house and the jewelry store, and eventually, they dumped her in a cemetery in Darby.

As she was struggling to escape from the zip ties they had placed on her wrists and ankles, the men returned to the cemetery and threw her back into the van. They put steel ankle shackles on her, put the hood back on her head, and drove her around again. Police say they again beat her until she revealed the PIN to her bank card. She gave it to them, and they made several ATM withdrawals.

They went back to the cemetery and released her again. This time, she was able to walk to the nearby road and flag down a woman in a car, who called 911.

Police have released this surveillance video of the van:

On the video, the vehicle is seen entering the parking garage at 3:40 p.m., and the woman can then be seen walking towards her car at 3:50 p.m. Five minutes later, the van drives to the roof of the garage, and then at 4:25 p.m., the van leaves, heading east on Chestnut Street with the terrified woman inside. Fifteen minutes later, at 4:40 p.m., the van is caught again on surveillance video at a gas station at 84th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard in Southwest Philadelphia.

Police describe the vehicle as a burgundy 1997-2002 Ford Econoline Cargo Van with tinted windows and smears of a white substance on it.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 215-686-3047 or 911 or the anonymous police tip line at 215-686-TIPS.