Mom used phone app to track carjacker accused of pointing gun at teen daughter, US feds say


While investigating, officials also linked Harvey with a robbery at a restaurant earlier in September. — AFP

A Philadelphia mom used a phone app to track her car after a man threatened her daughter with a gun and stole the vehicle, US federal officials say.

Amir Harvey, 20, was arrested and charged with carjacking and carrying a firearm in relation to a Sept 19 incident, according to a Sept. 29 news release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. No lawyer was listed for him.

It happened in the early hours as a mom and her 14-year-old daughter were getting ready to leave for school, according to an affidavit. Before leaving the house, the mom used her phone to turn on her 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe, which was parked in the home’s driveway.

As the mom was putting a bag in the back seat of the car, she heard her daughter scream, the affidavit says. When the 14-year-old approached the car’s passenger door, Harvey crept behind her and put a handgun with a “drum” style magazine to her head, according to the document. The girl “dropped her backpack and ran across the street to a neighbor’s house”.

Harvey then ran directly toward the mom, pointing the gun at her head, according to the affidavit. As he approached, she dropped her purse, which held her keys, and put her hands above her head. He then grabbed her purse and drove away in the car, the document says.

After calling the police, the mom used the Hyundai app on her phone to track her car’s location. With this information, police located the unoccupied stolen car about 2.6 miles from the home, the affidavit says.

Investigators used neighbourhood surveillance footage to identify and find Harvey.

“Through the Philadelphia Carjacking Task Force, we are continuing to investigate, arrest and prosecute those responsible for the spate of carjackings we have seen in Philadelphia in recent months,” US Attorney Jacqueline Romero said in the news release. “As alleged, this defendant threatened the lives of a mother and daughter going about their daily morning routine. Carjacking is not game or a fun pastime, it is a serious federal crime with severe consequences.”

While investigating, officials also linked Harvey with a robbery at a restaurant earlier in September.

On Sept 9, four men robbed Hook and Reel, a restaurant in northeast Philadelphia, court documents say. Armed with handguns, the men stole about US$400 (RM1,856) from the cash register and ransacked the restaurant’s office.

Using surveillance footage and witness interviews, police were able to identify Harvey as one of the suspects involved in the robbery, according to the affidavit. Harvey was an employee at the restaurant until April. – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service

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