A 54-year-old man who police say stole a vehicle left running with three young children inside was beaten to death in Philadelphia by the kids’ parents and onlookers after he got stuck in traffic.
The incident occurred just after 9 p.m. Thursday night in the city’s Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, where a yet-unidentified man reportedly got into a running car with a 7-month-old, an 18-month-old, and a 5-year-old in the backseat after the children’s 25-year-old mother got out of the car to speak to the children’s father at a pizza parlor where he worked.
The would-be car thief then drove several blocks while the father, also unidentified, gave chase and pulled the man out of the vehicle when the car got stuck in traffic, according to a local NBC affiliate. The suspect then ran about half a block before the father, the mother, and a group of apparent bystanders caught up and started beating him. He later died at a local hospital from severe injuries to his head, officials said.
“They were able to pull this car thief out of the vehicle. He fled on foot about a half a block. And the boyfriend caught up to him and there was some sort of physical struggle that ensued,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small told local reporters, referring to the father of the children as the woman’s boyfriend.
Police took both parents into custody to determine whether to press homicide charges. The children were not injured in the incident.