The quick thinking of one gas station clerk in Philadelphia has helped a doctor to get back her life. Now being hailed as a hero, the clerk had placed himself between the victim and her kidnapper, forcing the man to flee without his hostage. The victim, a young female Center City doctor, had been kidnapped earlier in the day from a parking garage near the hospital where she works.
On Wednesday night, during his late night shift at the Port Richmond Exxon, on York Street in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, a gas station clerk named Manveer Komer noticed the duo come in. According to reports, Komer said he began paying keen attention to the pair and noticed something was not quite right in how they interacted, despite the seemingly friendly wave the man had given him upon entering the gas station. It led him to take action and police later confirmed that the clerk’s suspicions saved the kidnapped woman.
“I was looking. This is not a boyfriend, not a girlfriend. Yeah. I’m looking. [She’s] very nervous. [She] swipes the card.”
The kidnapper, identified as 40-year-old Nathaniel Rodriguez, led the doctor to the ATM inside the station but when the card doesn’t work he takes the victim’s credit card and buys a pack of cigarettes. Komer says the kidnapper presented his and the doctor’s ID, claiming that she was his girlfriend but the gas station clerk simply did not trust him. ABC News reported that though no words were exchanged between the kidnapped woman and the clerk, he acted on his instincts when the two were about to exit the store. Manveer Komer came from behind his counter, placed the kidnapped doctor behind him and confronted the man. He said he told her, “You come behind my back. I help you. No problem.” Surveillance video shows Rodriguez reaching into his pocket as if to pull out a gun when faced by Komer, who then turned back and the kidnapper fled in the victim’s car. He took all her belongings.
The clerk gave the doctor some water to help calm her and only then did he call the police. She later revealed that earlier that day, at approximately 6 a.m., she had been on the phone with her husband when the man had gotten on the elevator with her and he flashed what appeared to be a gun before forcing her into her car.
It turned out that the police had been notified that the doctor had been kidnapped. Her husband, suspicious when she cut their conversation earlier, had gone to the hospital in search of her and alerted officials. The doctor, 28, told police that the card declined at the ATM because she had been forced to make several withdrawals at other ATMs around the city and had reached her limit. They later tracked down Rodriguez by tracking the kidnapped doctor’s stolen cell phone when he turned it on. They found him, and an accomplice, in the victim’s car. They were both arrested. The gas station clerk is being hailed as a hero.
Turns out this was not the first time Rodriguez had kidnapped a woman and robbed her. After being questioned in police custody it was revealed that a similar crime, committed on November 6 was also carried out near the hospital. According to Philly.com the woman who was victimized then said a man had approached and blocked her path as she walked to work that morning. He flashed a gun and demanded her money; however, she did not have any and showed him her empty purse. Upon seeing her ATM card he then forced her to go to two different ATMs in the area and made off with $300 of her cash. She told police after the brief kidnapping the man had hailed a taxi and left.
Rodrigeuez has a very long rap sheet and has been arrested twice this month, already, for theft. He has previously been arrested and charged for criminal conspiracy, gun and drug violations, as well as assault. His bail has been set at $2 million but he remains in custody since he has been unable to come up with 10 percent of the bail amount. It is believed that the man he was found in the car with will not be charged.
Nathaniel Rodriguez is reportedly to be charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, robbery, carjacking, and other related offenses.
[Photo via Yahoo News video]