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June 28, 2022

18-year-old charged in two carjackings of food delivery drivers in Northeast Philadelphia

John Nusslein was arrested by Philadelphia police earlier this year and is currently in federal custody awaiting trial

Crime Carjacking
Carjacking Charges Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

John Nusslein, 18, was arrested and indicted on carjacking charges by the U.S. Attorney's Office on Tuesday for his alleged role in two carjackings of food delivery drivers in Northeast Philadelphia in December 2021. He is being detained while he awaits trial.

A teenager is facing federal charges for his alleged role in two carjackings of food delivery drivers in Northeast Philadelphia during December, one of which resulted in the death of a 70-year-old man.

John Nusslein, 18, was arrested and charged with carjacking resulting in death, carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury, conspiracy to commit carjacking, and carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced on Tuesday.

Police said that on Dec. 2, 2021, Nusslein and a group of other people — including a 12-year-old and a 16-year-old — placed a food delivery order to the 3000 block of Teesdale Street in Mayfair. This was a ruse to lure the driver, 70-year-old Chung Yan Chin, to their location. When Chin arrived, the group allegedly approached his car, physically attacked him and stole his vehicle.

Chin spent several weeks in the hospital with serious brain injuries that he sustained during the attack, eventually succumbing to his injuries on Dec. 21. 

Later that month, Nusslein and the group allegedly followed the same plan and used it on a different delivery driver, this time luring them to the 9000 block of Hilspach Street in Bustleton. 

When the driver arrived, the group allegedly approached his car and pointed a gun at him. They demanded money and then stole his car.

"Through our Office's Carjacking Task Force, we are continuing to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those responsible for the spate of carjackings we have seen in Philadelphia in recent months," said Romero. "As alleged, this defendant violently attacked two hard-working people, one of whom died as a result of his injuries. Carjacking is not a game or a fun pastime, it is a serious federal crime with severe consequences." 

Nusslein was detained in federal custody on Tuesday while he awaits trial. If he's convicted, his charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a $1 million fine, or a total maximum sentence of the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Nusslein and the two other alleged co-conspirators were arrested by Philadelphia police earlier this year. Both Nusslein and the 12-year-old were charged with murder, robbery, conspiracy, and weapons violations. 

The carjacking was just one of 847 that occurred in Philadelphia in 2021. Carjackings have increased dramatically in the city over the last two years, and the 2022 rate is set to surpass the record set last year. More than 500 carjackings have been reported so far this year, according to police data. 

Last week, a St. Joseph's University student was shot after fighting off carjackers as he returned home to Overbrook from the school's campus. As he was parking his car outside his apartment in the West Philadelphia neighborhood, two men in ski masks pulled up and attempted to rob him. 

They were ultimately unsuccessful, but the student was shot in the knee and hit over the head with a gun, according to police. 

On June 17, an off-duty police officer's 2020 Toyota Highlander was stolen at gunpoint in Southwest Philadelphia and eventually set on fire in Cobbs Creek. The cop was parking his car when an armed teenager allegedly stopped him, reached into his pocket for the keys and stole the vehicle. The cop shot at the teenager as he drove away. 

Officials in Philadelphia have said they're taking measures to reduce carjackings throughout the city, including assigning plainclothes officers in places that have seen a heavier surge in reports.