A man who kidnapped a 6-year-old boy from an Upper Darby corner store last night was thwarted by the boy's family who jumped in front of the abductor's car and beat him until police arrived, said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.
"This was truly a stranger abduction that was foiled by the family," Chitwood said.
According to police, every night the child goes around the corner from his house by himself to grab a snack at the Korner Deli store at West Chester Pike and Keystone Avenue.
Last night, when the boy went into the store around 7 p.m., he was approached by a 29-year-old man named Christopher Tucker who asked him if he wanted candy and cookies and bought the snacks for the boy, Chitwood said.
Even though the store owners know the little boy, they didn't think twice when Tucker identified himself as the boy's uncle and walked him out of the store, according to police. Tucker then put the child in the front seat of his car and began to drive away, police said.
That's when the boy's family, concerned because of the length of time he had been gone, came walking up to the store looking for the child. One of them spotted the boy crying in Tucker's car and the group jumped in front of the vehicle to stop his escape, Chitwood said.
One family member grabbed the child while the child's father ripped Tucker out of the front seat, punched him to the ground and held him until police arrived.
Chitwood said Tucker was very intoxicated when police arrived on scene. He said Tucker has prior arrests for assault and drugs, but nothing that would indicate a proclivity towards injuring children - until last night.
"Why do you take a 6-year-old out of a store, buy him candy and say you're his uncle unless you're going to do something mean or nasty?" Chitwood said. "There was a major tragedy that was foiled here."
Tucker, of 60th Street near Arch, was charged with kidnapping, unlawful restraint of a juvenile, false imprisonment and related offenses.
Chitwood said the family was lucky and warned others not to let young children out alone.
"You can't let your kid go out there by himself at 7 at night anymore, even if he lives next door," Chitwood said.