A suspect has been arrested following the carjacking of Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) in South Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced on Dec. 23.
Officials arrested Josiah Brown, 19, of Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday on charges of carjacking and carrying and using a firearm in connection with the armed carjacking.
Brown appeared in federal magistrate court in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon and is currently being detained by authorities.
Police were able to track Scanlon’s car to New Castle, Del., where they arrested five people who approached the parked vehicle in the parking lot of the Christiana Fashion Center. Brown was among the five people and was in possession of the keys to Scanlon’s vehicle, officials said.
Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a statement that the investigation was “in its very initial stages” and that officials would “evaluate charging decisions.”
“Armed carjacking is a serious federal crime. There have been a rash of violent crimes like this recently, and while there were national security implications to this particular incident, we are always working collaboratively with our local partners to evaluate if cases should be taken federally,” she said. “Working together means more resources, more tools, more intelligence. 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. And we are very good at what we do.”
Jacqueline Maguire, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division said that “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.”
If convicted, Brown faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
Scanlon, a Democrat, represents Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District. That includes parts of South Philadelphia and Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
In a statement provided to WVPI-TV, Scanlon’s office said that two armed men approached her near FDR Park on Wednesday.
“Wednesday afternoon, at around 2:45 p.m., Congresswoman Scanlon was carjacked at gunpoint in FDR Park following a meeting at that location,” her office said. “The Congresswoman was physically unharmed. She thanks the Philadelphia Police Department for their swift response, and appreciates the efforts of both the Sergeant at Arms in D.C. and her local police department for coordinating with Philly PD to ensure her continued safety.”
Police told the station that the suspects demanded the keys to her vehicle, a 2017 Acura MDX, and took off with it. The vehicle was last seen being driven westbound on Pattison toward Penrose streets, they said.
Chief Inspector Frank Vanore, who confirmed the incident, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that later the two suspects were last seen driving Scanlon’s car toward Interstate 95 southbound.
Scanlon’s government cellphone, identification, personal cellphone, and purse were also in the vehicle at the time it was taken, officials told the station.
“She’s physically OK, but her vehicle and possessions are gone,” Scanlon’s spokesperson, Lauren Cox, told The Inquirer.
According to court documents cited by the Inquirer, Brown admitted to holding a real but unloaded gun up to Scanlon to intimidate her. Brown is a suspect in multiple other incidents, including a string of car break-ins.
The suspect wrote Scanlon an apology letter following Wednesday’s incident, as per the Inquirer.
Philadelphia set its all-time yearly homicide rate earlier this month, according to figures released by the city. As of Dec. 23, the city saw 545 murders in 2021, surpassing the previously set record of 500 murders in 1990.
The Epoch Times contacted the congresswoman’s office for additional comment.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.