Man jailed up to 30 years for random kidnapping attempt in Lancaster

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LANCASTER, Pa, (WHTM) – A Willow Street man who attempted to kidnap a woman at knifepoint last summer at Kendig Square will serve at least 12 years in prison.

Christopher Lee Mitchell pleaded guilty to felony counts of kidnapping, robbery and aggravated assault regarding the July 30, 2019, incident outside Planet Fitness at the West Lampeter Township shopping center.

Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reinaker sentenced Mitchell to 12 to 30 years, in accordance with a plea agreement. Mitchell, 38, appeared via videoconference for the sentencing hearing, according to Assistant District Attorney Travis S. Anderson.

The victim was targeted near her vehicle as she left the gym. Mitchell grabbed the woman, held a knife to her, knocked her to the ground and forced her into her vehicle while demanding her keys. The woman fled the vehicle and ran away.

West Lampeter Township police connected Mitchell to the crime using surveillance video and a tip from an employee at a nearby store who saw a press release on the incident and believed the suspect description matched someone seen around the store.

Police reviewed surveillance footage and recognized the person depicted as Mitchell. The victim identified Mitchell as her attacker. West Lampeter Township police Detective Steven Heinly filed charges.

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