A two-year-old’s screams may have saved his big sister’s life on Tuesday when a man tried to snatch her off the street in broad daylight.
Philadelphia police say it is one of the most disturbing things they’ve seen — a surveillance camera captured video of the man trying to abduct the 10-year-old victim, twice.
“It is gripping, to say the least. It is disturbing,” said Capt. John Darby with the Special Victims Unit.
The victim and her little brother were walking home on S. Lee Street in South Philadelphia after getting water ice a couple of blocks away.
In the video, you see the man come up from behind them. He grabs the little girl and tries to run off with her. She struggles with him and falls to the ground. The man tries a second time to take her, but is stopped by the little boy’s screams.
“Ultimately, with the screams from this little boy and by her account [the victim] she says the child literally screams louder than anything she’s ever heard before, he literally interrupts this assault,” said Captain Darby.
The attacker ran, got into his car and fled east on Porter Street.
The girl’s father told NBC10 he is proud of how his daughter fought off the attacker. The father claims his daughter bit the man and struggled to free herself, techniques he claims she picked up while watching NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
The girl’s neighbors went door to door, collecting donations to buy a Toys R Us gift card for the girl.
“I think it’s sickening what happened to her,” said Jennifer Carulli. “Seeing the surveillance video, it’s heartbreaking. I think it’s so scary that he followed her all the way here and actually got out of the car to grab her. It amazes me that this happened, it amazes me.”
“What is he capable of doing any other time?” asked Harry McDowell. “What’s he capable of doing right now?”
The suspect is described as a thinly built Hispanic male between the ages of 30 and 40 standing between 5-foot-9 and 6-feet with a thin mustache, short black curly hair and medium complexion. He was last seen wearing a black short sleeve t-shirt and blue pants.
The man’s vehicle is described as a late 1990’s-early 2000’s white mid-sized foreign 4-door, possibly a Mitsubishi or Nissan with a black scuff mark on the driver’s side rear bumper and a dent on the left front fender wheel well.
“I want this creep off our streets, immediately,” said Mayor Nutter during Wednesday’s press conference.
Police are offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the suspect’s arrest. However, they also warn anyone who sees the suspect to not approach him but call 911 immediately.