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5 Teens Charged In Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Scanlon's Armed Carjacking

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon was robbed at gunpoint in south Philadelphia Wednesday. Five suspects were later arrested outside a Delaware bowling alley, state authorities said. 

By Dorian Geiger
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Five suspects have been charged following Wednesday’s armed carjacking of Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, who was jumped at gunpoint near Philadelphia’s FDR Park, authorities said.

Scanlon was confronted by two armed men in the 1900 block of Pattison Ave near Philadelphia’s FDR Park at approximately 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Philadelphia Police Department. The pair of suspected thieves confronted the congresswoman as she spoke to an unidentified witness near her parked 2017 Acura MDX, a probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com stated.

The suspected thieves, described as two Black men in their 20s or 30s, pulled up in an SUV, effectively boxing Scanlon in, charging documents stated. One of the SUV's occupants got out, pointed a gun at Scanlon's chest and demanded her keys. Scanlon, who turned the keys over, told the FBI she also observed the second carjacker brandishing a firearm during the robbery.

The two suspects then sped off in the 62-year-old politician’s Acura, according to the FBI. The two were followed by a third individual, who drove the dark-colored SUV in which the two gunmen had arrived. Several of Scanlon’s personal and professional belongings were in the vehicle at the time.

Scanlon was unharmed in the incident, police officials and political aides confirmed.  

Authorities traced her unoccupied Acura using GPS to Christiana Fashion Center mall in Newark, Delaware, approximately 35 miles away. State troopers and FBI agents subsequently set up a perimeter and conducted surveillance on the stolen car.

Shortly after 8 p.m., a group of five teens emerged from a gaming center and attempted to get in the stolen vehicle. They were apprehended by law enforcement after trying to flee the scene. 

“Upon getting to their vehicle, we all surrounded it,” Senior Corporal Jason Hatchell, of the Delaware State Police, who witnessed the arrest first-hand, told Oxygen.com. “They attempted to run but we had enough officers out there.”

The five alleged suspects — four of five who are minors — were arrested without incident in the shopping center’s parking lot. 

Josiah Brown, 19, was identified as the only suspect directly tied to Scanlon’s carjacking. The key to Scanlon’s Acura was later found in his possession.

“He was the one apprehended with the key in his pocket,” Hatchell added. 

Brown has been federally charged with aiding and abetting carjacking and carrying a firearm to commit a violent crime, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced Thursday afternoon.

“The investigation into this incident is in its very initial stages, and we are continuing to investigate and evaluate charging decisions,” U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a prepared statement. “Armed carjacking is a serious federal crime."

"I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you pick up a gun and use it to commit a crime, together, we will come after you," she added. "And we are very good at what we do.”

Under questioning, Brown confessed to the carjacking but claimed his firearm, which he used to "intimidate" Scanlon during the commission of the robbery, was unloaded. He insisted an unnamed accomplice pointed a separate firearm at Scanlon's chest. 

Prior to concluding his interview with FBI agents, Brown expressed regret for his role in the carjacking — and penned a letter of apology to Scanlon.

"Brown provided a written apology to the victim, indicating that he was very sorry for stealing the car and pointing a gun at her," FBI agent Matthew Yeager wrote in the case's probable cause affidavit.

As of Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for Scanlon's office said they haven't yet received the written apology.

"Anyone willing to victimize a total stranger at gunpoint at any time, much less in broad daylight, in the middle of the day, is a clear threat to our community,” Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, added. "No one who lives, works, or visits here should have to fear violent criminals targeting them for their vehicle or any other possessions."

Brown, a Wilmington, Delaware resident, was remanded to custody following a preliminary federal court appearance on Thursday. If convicted, he faces life in prison. Attorney information wasn't immediately available for him on Thursday.

The remaining four suspects — including three males and one female, aged 13, 14, 15 and 16 — entered the stolen vehicle at some point after Scanlon’s keys were swiped at gunpoint, authorities said. Officials confirmed the four teens aren't currently facing federal charges, but they are expected to face criminal proceedings at the state level.

All four juvenile suspects were charged with one count of felony receiving stolen property over $1,500, authorities said, and arraigned in a New Castle County court on Thursday. 

The 15-year-old suspect, who is facing an additional resisting arrest charge as well as two criminal mischief charges, is being held on a $3,500 bond at a juvenile detention facility. The other three minors were released to their guardians' custody on $1,500 unsecured bonds. 

Investigators haven’t disclosed where the additional teens suspected to have been riding in the vehicle may have been picked up by Brown.

“By the time we located the vehicle, set up surveillance, there were five subjects then, returning to the stolen vehicle,” the DSP's Hatchell added. “From when the carjacking took place in Philadelphia to the vehicle being located in Delaware, I don’t have the information at this time, about where they were picked up, how they got into the stolen vehicle.”

Scanlon’s Acura was towed and is expected to be recovered by Philadelphia police. It's unclear if her personal and work belongings were recovered.

A second carjacking suspect, originally referred to by Philadelphia Police, may still be at large, state authorities said. They declined to comment further.

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“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 in a statement sent to Oxygen.com. “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 had previously confirmed the incident on social media and later addressed reporters on Thursday afternoon. 

“The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind, but I am extremely grateful no one was hurt — including any members of my team or the families who were out enjoying the park on a beautiful winter afternoon," Scanlon said in a statement. "What happened yesterday was traumatic, but I refuse to let it dampen my love for the city of Philadelphia or the gem that is FDR Park."

Her office confirmed that Scanlon was conducting government business at the time of the suspected carjacking.

“She was at FDR for an official meeting regarding some of the planned upgrades at that park,” Lauren Cox, Scanlon’s Communications Director, told Oxygen.com by email.

Scanlon, a first-term Democrat and former attorney who represents Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District, was sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018. She resides in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

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