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*Corrections appended

Three abductions and robberies involving taxi cabs occurred this weekend across Philadelphia, leaving Division of Public Safety officials convinced that a pattern has developed in the area.

The weekend robberies followed a similar incident also believed to be related at the corner of 40th and Walnut streets on Sept. 22.

All of the incidents occurred late at night and involved an individual or group getting into a cab that already had someone sitting in the passenger seat.

The person in the passenger seat threatened passengers with a handgun, forced them to hand over all of their valuables and took them to ATMs where they were forced to withdraw money from their accounts.

No one has been injured in any of the incidents, and none has involved people affiliated with the University.

The three recent abductions took place between midnight and 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights on the 100 block of Spring Garden St., 2nd and Chestnut streets and 12th and Walnut streets.

In all four cases, the victims reported that the taxi appeared to be a certified cab, and that there were two males, all with similar descriptions, sitting in the front seat when they entered.

According to Deputy Chief of Investigations Michael Morrin, all of the incidents have involved victims who had consumed alcohol.

It is against regulations for cab drivers to have any passengers in the car with them when they are working, Morrin said. He warned students that people sitting in the front seat of a stopped taxi "should set off some alarms right away."

The string of abductions follows a similar series of incidents in the spring of 2006, when 14 people - including five students from local colleges - were forced into cars and driven around to ATMs to withdraw money.

Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush also urged students to use discretion when taking cabs and to take down the taxi number and description of any suspicious cabs.

Any person who sees a suspicious taxi should also call Penn Police at 215-573-3333.


The article states that three abductions occurred in the last weekend in September. In fact, only two occurred.

The weekend robberies followed two similar incidents also believed to be related - one at the corner of 40th and Walnut streets on Sept. 22 as well as another at Spring Garden and Front streets on Sept. 2.

The article states none of the victims have been affiliated with the University; this was later clarified to be untrue.

The two recent abductions took place between midnight and 3:00 a.m.on Saturday night, Sept. 29, at 10th and Walnut and 12th and Walnut streets.

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