Philadelphia Police reported the attempted abduction of a 20-year-old female Temple student last night near the Center City campus. The student was able to escape from the suspect’s vehicle after one block, police said.
The suspect, described as a black male in his 20s or 30s, about 6 feet tall, and about 200 pounds, was on North 16th Street by a black four-door sedan, asking for help adjusting a car seat in the vehicle.
When the student approached the vehicle, the suspect pushed her into it, and locked the back door. What she had thought was a child in the seat was actually a doll. Police said the student also saw a black handgun resting on an armrest beside the suspect.
The student escaped after one block when the assailant stopped at a red light at N. 16th Street and JFK Boulevard.
Capt. John Darby of the Special Victims Unit cautioned the public to be wary of the car seat ruse.
“This is something I have not seen in my years at the SVU,” Darby said. “Obviously the MO here is quite different.”
The student was not physically harmed or assaulted, Darby said.
Temple University Campus Safety Services sent an e-mail to students alerting them to this and another Center City incident, along with the following list of reminders about how to stay safe.
|1.||Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Do not use distracting devices like cell phones and iPods, especially while traveling alone.|
|2.||Do not engage, or become engaged, in conversations with strangers.|
|3.||Do not approach or get in a stranger’s vehicle.|
|4.||If you are uncertain of your safety or surroundings, contact the Temple police immediately by dialing 1-1234 from a campus phone or 215-204-1234 from a non-campus phone, or dial 911.|