OLNEY (WPVI) —
Philadelphia police say a 34-year-old man was abducted while leaving work on Sunday night, held for ransom, then set on fire in the Olney section of the city.
A burned-out shell was all that remained of the victim’s 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix, which was parked along the 5400 block of Westford Road.
It was around 5:45 Monday morning when neighbors here first heard screams coming from a man trapped inside.
“I was very devastated just knowing that someone was on fire and there was nothing that anybody could do about it. I didn’t know if he was locked in the car so it was upsetting to me,” said Donna Brown.
“He said they kidnapped him and they were trying to kill him,” said Carla Dessouse.
Police say the victim left his job working with people with special needs at Harbison and Benner in Wissinoming around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.
He was able to tell investigators he abducted by three armed men driving a black Audi with tinted windows.
“At which time he was approached by three males who, point of gun, abducted him, put him in the back of his car, zip-tied him, and drove around for the next several hours,” said Capt. Mark Burgmann of Philadelphia police.
During all that time they were driving around, police say the suspects were using the victim’s phone, calling and texting to demand ransom from his family.
“We did learn that a family member did begin to receive messages from our victim’s phone from the people that abducted him demanding $10,000,” said Burgmann.
They ended up in Olney where the suspects doused the victim with gasoline and lit his vehicle on fire.
Police are interviewing the victim’s family. They emphasize they do not think this was a random crime, although they cannot say right now why the victim was targeted.
He did suffer 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 50 percent of his body and remains in critical condition tonight.
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