Philadelphia, PA – A Philadelphia mother punched an armed carjacker repeatedly in his face after he stole the pizza delivery van she was riding in with her boyfriend and children on Tuesday night.
The owner of Campus Pizza later told Philadelphia police that the 36-year-old delivery driver occasionally has his 35-year-old girlfriend and their children, ages eight, six, and two, with him while he was out making deliveries, WPVI reported.
The driver was running a late-night order to the 2700-block of Warnock Street on March 15 and parked his blue Chevrolet minivan outside the delivery location while his family waited inside the vehicle, police said.
As he was approaching the property, he saw a masked suspect jump behind the wheel of his minivan and drive away, WPVI reported.
The driver immediately called the police and provided them with the license plate and description of his stolen vehicle.
Investigators later determined the building where the pizza was supposed to be delivered was acatually vacant and that the order was only placed as a setup, WPVI reported.
The Philadelphia Police Department’s (PPD) Aviation Unit helicopter was already in the air when they were notified about the carjacking and kidnapping, according to police.
As police searched for the stolen vehicle by air and on the ground, the children’s mother attacked the armed carjacker inside the van, WPVI reported.
“While she was trying to take the mask off his face, she was actually punching the individual because he was taking the vehicle, that’s when, according to her, the (suspect) started to threaten to kill her,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small told the news outlet.
The woman managed to escape from the minivan, injuring her foot as she jumped from the vehicle, WPVI reported.
The suspect released her eight-year-old son about a block later, but sped off with the younger two children asleep in the back seat, police said.
Officers in the police helicopter spotted the stolen van and followed it to the area of Cambridge Street and 12th Street, where the carjacker bailed out and jumped into the passenger side of a white Chevrolet Impala, WPVI reported.
The suspect, later identified as 18-year-old Shaun Triplett, sped away with two other unidentified males, according to police.
The two children were found uninjured inside the abandoned minivan and were returned to their parents, WPVI reported.
Police stopped the Impala in the area of Euclid Avenue and 31st Street, where Triplett and the other two men jumped out of the car and took off on foot, according to Philly Voice.
Officers chased him down about a block later and took him into custody.
Triplett was in possession of a semiautomatic handgun at the time of his arrest, according to Inspector Small.
Police said the couple and their eight-year-old son identified Triplett as the man who stole their vehicle, WPVI reported.
He has been charged with kidnapping, robbery, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and a weapon violation, among other offenses, according to Philly Voice.
The two unidentified suspects who had been inside the Impala were not apprehended, WCAU reported.
Investigators said they discovered that car was reported stolen in August of 2021.
Carjackings have skyrocketed in Philadelphia this year, WCAU reported.
A total of 262 carjackings had been reported as of March 14, up from 106 during the same period last year, according to police records.