Cops: NE Philly teen abducted in home invasion

Posted: June 20, 2014

WHAT SHOULD have been a quick walk home from school yesterday turned into an hourlong ordeal for one Northeast Philly teen, the victim of a gunpoint kidnapping that saw him dumped on the other side of the city, police said.

Just before 2 p.m., the boy, a ninth-grader at George Washington High School, called his dad, Christian Garnica, to say he'd be home soon, said Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman.

But as he rounded the corner to his house, on Ferndale Street near Greymont in Bustleton, the teen - whose name the Daily News is withholding - spotted two men waiting for him.

Those men brandished handguns and grabbed the boy. They covered his eyes with tape and forced him into a nearby Subaru station wagon, Stanford said.

The gunmen then strolled up to the teen's front door. On the other side of that door was Garnica, who said that he was waiting for his son to come home so the family could attend his daughter's graduation party.

But when Garnica answered what he thought was his son's knocking, he found himself looking down the barrel of a gun.

The scoundrels forced Garnica and his wife to the floor, binding their wrists with shoelaces and the wrapper from a loaf of Stroehmann bread, Stanford said. The thieves then grabbed a bundle of cash - Garnica estimates about $30,000 was taken - and some jewelry.

"They said, 'Give us everything,' " Garnica said. " 'Don't lie. I know what you have already.' "

Garnica, who owns several businesses, including a mattress shop and a real-estate firm, said the thieves also took the recording from the home's surveillance system.

With their loot in hand, the gunmen left the house, jumping into the Subaru, driven by a third man, Stanford said. Garnica's son was still in the car when the three sped off.

Garnica was able to free himself, and gave chase in his car, but lost the station wagon near Roosevelt Boulevard, Stanford said.

About a half-hour later, police received a call from the teen - he told investigators that the burglars dumped him out on Fairmount Avenue near 23rd in Fairmount.

He was later reunited, without injury, with his family. He told the Daily News that the ordeal was "really scary," and that he ran to a nearby gas station to call police after being freed from the Subaru.

Police were still searching last night for the three kidnappers. Though Stanford said the investigation was ongoing, he said it was clear that Garnica was targeted.

But Garnica didn't care about why his family was attacked; he was just glad the ordeal was over.

"Now we're just more calm, relaxed, knowing everything is well now," he said. "We don't worry about material things. . . . We worry about our son."

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