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December 22, 2021

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon carjacked at gunpoint in South Philly on Wednesday afternoon

The congresswoman was held up in broad daylight after participating in a tour of FDR Park

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon was held up at gunpoint and her car was stolen while touring of FDR Park in South Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

The carjacking happened around 2:45 p.m. along the 1900 block of Pattison Avenue. Two armed suspects reportedly approached Scanlon at her car and demanded that she give them her keys and personal belongings, a spokesperson for the congresswoman said Wednesday afternoon.

UPDATE: Five suspects in custody after U.S. Rep Scanlon's stolen car found in Delaware, police say

Scanlon turned over the keys, her cell phones and her ID. The suspects drove off in Scanlon's Acura MDX without harming her, the spokesperson said. An aide who had been accompanying Scanlon also was present during the incident, according to investigators. 

Police said Wednesday evening that the suspects were between 20 and 30 years old. Scanlon's blue Acura was last seen along the 2000 block of Pattison Avenue, where one of the suspects entered a dark-colored SUV and followed the other suspect in Scanlon's vehicle. 

The Philadelphia Police Department is working with the FBI, which has taken the lead on the investigation.

"I am relieved that Congresswoman Scanlon was not physically injured, and my thoughts are with her during this difficult time," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. "The PPD will continue to provide any support needed in this case and will work diligently alongside our federal partners to assist in bringing those responsible to justice."

Scanlon, 62, had been at FDR Park, which is located in her congressional district, with other elected officials to assess the large-scale renovation planned at the historic park.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted Wednesday that he was "appalled" to learn what had happened to the Congresswoman. 

Scanlon, a Democrat, represents Pennsylvania's 5th Congressional District covering Delaware County and parts of South Philly and Southwest Philly and small portions of Montgomery and Chester counties. She had a long career as a public interest lawyer before successfully running for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat in 2018, winning a seat in an important district that had just been redrawn by the state Supreme Court.

Wednesday's incident comes amid a string of armed robberies that have multiplied in and around Center City in recent weeks, prompting embattled District Attorney Larry Krasner to address the problem in a press briefing earlier this month. 

Armed robberies involving guns have increased by 28.6% compared to 2020, according to police department statistics, and they have risen even more rapidly since early November. During the 28-day period from Nov. 22-Dec. 19, armed robberies involving guns jumped 46.9% over the previous 28-day period from Oct. 25-Nov. 21. 

In a statement Wednesday evening, Krasner said his office has been in contact with law enforcement and is assisting in efforts to locate the suspects who stole Scanlon's car and personal belongings. 

"I am extremely grateful that Congresswoman Scanlan and an aide who was accompanying her were not physically harmed today," Krasner said. "My office will be offering them the services and support we provide to victims of frightening and traumatic crimes."

Anyone who has information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects in Wednesday's incident is urged to call 911 or the PPD tip line at (215) 686-8477.