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October 07, 2015

Suspects in Jewelers Row kidnapping, beating plead guilty

Prosecutors say victim was Tased seven times, robbed and dumped at Mt. Laurel Cemetery

Two suspects in the alleged kidnapping and beating of a Center City jewelry store employee last April pleaded guilty in court Wednesday to the attack.

The suspects, 26-year-old Basil Buie and 35-year-old Salahudin Shaheed, were arrested in June after prosecutors say they confronted the 54-year-old female employee of National Watch & Diamond in a parking lot on 8th and Chestnut streets on April 4.

According to prosecutors, the two suspects, joined by 31-year-old accomplice Khayree Gay, demanded that the women give them the keys to her workplace and the codes to its safes. When the victim told them she didn't know the codes, investigators say the suspects viciously beat her, Tased her seven times, placed a hood over her head and zip-tied her hands before throwing her into the back of Gay's van.

The suspects were accused of stealing the victim's ring, $800 in cash and her debit card and PIN, which they used to empty her bank account at several ATMs.

After the beating and robbery, investigators say the suspects dumped the victim at Mt. Laurel Cemetery in Darby. She suffered a concussion and broken ribs in addition to mental trauma.

Each defendant faces a maximum possible statutory sentence of life in prison, five years of supervised release, a fine of up to $750,000, and a $300 special assessment.

The third suspect, Gay, was arrested days after the incident in South Carolina and had already pleaded guilty previous to Wednesday's court appearance.