Cops: Business owner, 55, targeted in violent home-invasion

A business owner was targeted in a violent home-invasion robbery in North Philadelphia Thursday night, and cops are searching for the four gunmen who they say bound and gagged the woman and her daughter and stole cash from their home.

The 55-year-old woman, who owns a variety store on Clearfield Street in Kensington -- about a mile from her North Philadelphia home -- took a car service from the store and arrived at her house on Ontario Street near 7th at 9:44 p.m., according to investigators.

When she got out of the car and walked to her front door, four men wearing gloves and ski masks -- who all had guns -- followed her and forced their way inside, Chief Inspector Scott Small said. There, they gagged and bound the woman and her 32-year-old daughter with duct tape, blindfolded them and separated them, leaving the daughter downstairs and bringing the older woman upstairs.

Small said they badly ransacked the house and stole more than $5,000 in cash.

"They tore the place apart," he said.

Preliminarily, investigators said it appears that the robbers had been casing the woman's business and targeted her. No surveillance cameras were located on her block, but Small said police did locate cameras at the woman's store that could have captured potential suspects watching her.

Neither woman was injured in the home-invasion, but cops said the men pointed guns at their faces and heads during the commission of the crime. A handful of neighbors who witnessed the men force their way into the home were taken to East Detectives to be interviewed, and police remained at the scene investigating around 11 p.m.