According to Philadelphia police, the 36-year-old driver from Campus Pizza on Diamond Street went to make a delivery to the 2700 block of Warnock Street.
The driver had his 35-year-old girlfriend and their three children, an 8-year-old boy, a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy in his blue Chevrolet van with him.
When the driver exited the vehicle and approached the property, police said they saw a masked suspect, later identified as 18-year-old Shaun Triplett, get into the Chevy and drive off.
According to the police, the property turned out to be a vacant building, which confirmed that it was a setup and not an actual delivery.
The driver gave the police a description of his stolen van and the license plate.
Authorities notified the Philadelphia Police Department Aviation Unit.
According to Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small, the police helicopter had already deployed in the air and started searching for the van.
Meanwhile, inside the vehicle, the girlfriend had a physical struggle with the teenage suspect, Small said.
“As she was trying to remove the mask from her face she was actually hitting the individual because he was taking the vehicle, which is when she says (the teenager) started to threaten to kill her,” Small said.
The girlfriend then jumped out of the van, injuring her foot.
About a block away, Small said the 8-year-old son was let out of the van. He found his parents.
However, the couple’s 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son were left asleep in the backseat as Triplett continued to drive the stolen vehicle.
“That’s why we’ve prioritized the search for this vehicle because not only has this individual committed a carjacking, but he’s also going to be charged with kidnapping,” Small said.
The police helicopter spotted the blue van and followed it to the area of 12th and Cambridge streets.
Officers observed the teenage suspect exit the van at this location and enter the passenger side of a white Chevy Impala. Triplett took off with two other unidentified men, police said.
The 6- and 2-year-old children were found safe and sound in the vehicle. They also found their parents.
The police helicopter continued to follow the white car to 31st Street and Euclid Avenue.
Ground officers stopped the vehicle and that’s when police say Triplett got out of the passenger side and ran.
“Officers embarked on a foot chase. They chased this individual for about a block and they conducted an apprehension,” Small said.
Police recovered a semi-automatic weapon from the suspect.
The delivery driver, his girlfriend and their 8-year-old son were able to identify the teenager as the person who stole the van, police say.
Police continue to investigate the three crime scenes.
Triplett faces a slew of charges including aggravated assault, robbery and kidnapping.
Authorities confirmed to the pizzeria owner that the delivery driver used the van to make deliveries and sometimes had his family with him.
The armed carjacking rocked other delivery drivers in the area, like Sean Sneed.
“It’s not right,” Sneed told Action News. “I’m a courier and I’m a Lyft driver, so every day when I’m driving I think about what might happen if I stop at a stop sign.”
Sneed said this situation is a good reminder to stay alert during deliveries.
“My windows are closed or my doors are locked, and I’m constantly aware, so I’m not going to get out of my car and leave my car running. No, the keys are going to be in my hand, the doors are going to be locked, c that’s how it’s gonna be,” Sneed said
No further details have been released regarding the driver of the white vehicle.
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