Philly police release video of van used in Jewelers Row abduction [video]

 (Image via Philadelphia Police Department video)

(Image via Philadelphia Police Department video)

Philadelphia detectives continue to search for clues in the case of a Center City jewelry store worker who was kidnapped and assaulted by three men Saturday afternoon. They’re asking for the public’s help in finding any new leads.

The department released a two-minute security video Tuesday afternoon, which shows a maroon Ford Econoline cargo van smeared with white paint entering and exiting a parking garage at 733 Chestnut St. where the woman was abducted around 4 p.m.

The police also have video showing the same van pulling into a Wawa for gas at 84th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard 40 minutes after the woman was grabbed.

She was found by police in nearby Darby Township around 6 p.m. Saturday.

The short video is one of the only leads officers are working with at this point. Capt. Frank Banford said at a Tuesday news conference he believes it was planned crime. Several hours of footage remain to dig through. 

“They were spotted on Chestnut [Street] numerous times in the last month and even in the parking lot,” said Banford. “So I believe they were either scouting out this exact location, or multiple at a time.”

Jewelry store owners Monday said that a constant presence of uniformed and undercover police, as well as a significant amount of security cameras, make the one-block Center City business district known as Jewelers Row one of the safest in the Philadelphia.

In the video, the 54-year-old employee of National Watch and Diamond is seen walking to her car with a co-worker in the Chestnut Street garage at 3:55 p.m. Saturday. The co-worker heads up a ramp to the second floor while she walks down to the lower level. A few minutes later, the maroon van is seen driving up the ramp and heading toward the roof of the building.

Banford said the attackers parked and tortured the victim for a half-hour on the top floor, trying to get keys to the building and safety codes from her — neither of which she had — before they left the garage around 4:30 p.m.

He said the victim was beaten and hit with a stun gun at least seven times during the two-hour ordeal. She has been released from the hospital and is recovering from a bruising and a black eye.

“The emotional damage will last a lot longer than the physical,” said Banford of the victim. “She seems well, very cooperative, very together considering what happened, but she’s going to feel this shock later.”

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