US congresswoman carjacked at gunpoint in Philadelphia park

Mary Gay Scanlon was unharmed after handing over her keys to two men who accosted her as she walked to her vehicle

Mary Gay Scanlon was robbed of her car by two armed men in a Philadelphia park on Wednesday. Pool via AP
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US congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon was robbed of her car at gunpoint in a Philadelphia park on Wednesday.

The vehicle was recovered hours later after a manhunt by the FBI and local police.

Ms Scanlon, 62, a Democrat whose district includes portions of south Philadelphia and neighbouring Delaware County, was unharmed in the mid-afternoon robbery.

She was walking to her sport utility vehicle after a meeting when she was approached by two armed men, believed to be 20 to 30 years of age, city police said.

The men demanded her car keys and she handed them over. One man drove off in her vehicle and the other got into a second SUV and followed him.

Several of Ms Scanlon’s personal and work-related items were taken in the stolen vehicle, police said.

Ms Scanlon’s spokeswoman, Lauren Cox, said the congresswoman had just left an outdoor meeting with other elected officials at FDR Park in south Philadelphia to discuss planned renovations to the area when the incident occurred.

Hours later, police said they had recovered Ms Scanlon’s car and arrested four men and a woman.

Sr Cpl Jason Hatchell of Delaware State Police told CNN the vehicle was found near a public gym in Newark, in New Jersey state.

Police said earlier that the FBI had assumed the lead in the investigation because the victim was a member of Congress.

Mayor Jim Kenney said he was “appalled to learn of this violent crime” against Ms Scanlon, whom he described as his friend and colleague.

“My thoughts are with her during what I’m sure is a traumatic time,” he said in a Twitter post.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in our city, and sadly that hasn’t always been the case this year,” Mr Kenney said.

“It’s disheartening and infuriating that criminals feel emboldened to commit such a reckless crime in the middle of the day in what should be a place of peace – one of our city’s parks.”

Updated: December 23, 2021, 5:52 AM