Hero dad rescues son from attempted kidnapping; suspect caught

Terror filled moments in Center City as a dad was unloading his work truck and his son was feet away, he says a guy snatched his child and started running.

That little boy is safe.

Police say the same guy tried to punch a different child just minutes before.

It was just before 11 a.m. Thursday morning at 21st and Arch in Center City. A father was unloading tools from his work van. His ten year old was a few feet away waiting for his dad when suddenly, police say, a man snatched the boy right off the sidewalk.

"A stranger just appeared out of nowhere, grabs the son, drags him down the street," Philadelphia Police Captain Sekou Kinebrew told FOX 29 Friday.

Police say the father gave chase as the suspect headed west on Arch with his son. He caught up and managed to free the boy.

"He's able to subdue and detain the male, either he or some passersby called the police," the Captain explained.

The suspect, identified as 55-year-old Pasquale Pellegrino of Delaware, was arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping, assault and other crimes.

"We don't know what his intentions were. It frightens us to even think what might have happened if he was able to escape with the young child," Capt. Kinebrew added.

"There's so much happening these days, you gotta be careful. Anything can happen," said John Lovett, a father who was out walking near the scene Friday.

Police now say that 20 minutes before the incident, Pellegrino walked up to a mother walking with her 10-year-old son at 20th and Race. Investigators say he punched the child in the chest and took off.

"That's evil, that's evil," Lovett said.

Lovett has a daughter. The attack in Center City startled he and his wife. He's glad Pellegrino is off the street.

"Keep an eye out cause there's people out here that's watching us and they don't care," Lovett added.

"Dad's a hero to his son. He's a hero to use and he stopped what we can only imagine would have happened if that individual was able to escape with his son," Kinebrew said.

Police say Pellegrino has prior arrests in Delaware, Maryland and Texas. He's being held on bail.