In a prime example of mob justice, a man was beaten to death by an enraged Philadelphia neighborhood after he had carjacked a car with three children inside.
We all remember the old TV westerns where a town mob gathers to execute some criminal or another. The story is an old western trope, for sure. But folks in Philadelphia engaged in a true-to-life case of mob justice when a thief put three kids in danger.
A carjacker tried to steal a woman’s car outside a pizza joint near 29th and Dauphin Streets. The woman jumped out of her car to run in and talk to her boyfriend, she told the police. But she left her car running with her three kids inside, according to NBC Philly, Channel 10.
When the women entered the pizza joint to talk to her boyfriend, a 54-year-old man jumped into her car and drove off with the children in the back seat. The three kids were aged 7 months, and there was a 1 and a half-year-old, and a 5-year-old.
The woman’s boyfriend, a 25-year-old man, ran after the car and caught up to the thief when the car ended up stopped in traffic.
According to Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small, once the younger man caught up to the car, he opened the car door and pulled the would-be thief out of the car.
That was when other folks in the area learned of what was going on and joined the man in attacking the carjacker.
“The boyfriend caught up to him, and there was some sort of physical struggle that ensued,” Small told the media. “Then, other males from the neighborhood intervened and began punching and kicking the male who took the vehicle.”
When first responders arrived, the carjacker was found unconscious, and with multiple injuries to his face and head. The thief was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead that evening.
Both the mother and her boyfriend were taken into custody. But chief Small noted that it is not clear that they will be charged with any crimes.
Police are also looking for surveillance video in the area to help clarify events.
The woman’s children were not harmed, and they are staying with family members as police investigate the incident.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.