New York Post – by JAMIE SCHRAM, FRANK ROSARIO and M.L. NESTEL
Masked thugs abducted a man and woman at gunpoint off the street in a leafy section of Washington Heights — pulling the pair into a van and speeding off with barely a trace.
The victims were last seen on a surveillance video walking together on a sidewalk on Haven Avenue near West 173rd Street at 7 p.m. Friday — right outside a building that houses Columbia University dental students.
Moments before the unidentified couple vanished, they were seen “looking behind them and acting nervous,” sources said. It’s unclear whether they are Columbia students.
Two girls, ages 9 and 15, were heard screaming and watched helplessly as the couple vanished. They quickly dialed 911.
Sandra Guzman, 46, said she saw a black van filled with passengers idling in front of a fire hydrant moments before the abduction.
She said one of the alleged kidnappers was wearing a dark ski mask that “covered everything except his eyes.”
“I thought it was too warm out for him to be wearing something like that,” she said.
The masked man also seemed to be trying to “spy on someone.”
“He was sneaking over to the park and looked over the wall and across the street,” she said.
CHASE: Two men, one of whom is masked, are seen running after the couple.
Detectives commandeered part of the Columbia building at 154 Haven Ave. right after the abduction, poring over the building’s surveillance.
In a short clip released by cops, a dark-colored Town and Country mini-van with its passenger sliding doors wide open whizzes by as a masked man chases after a woman.
The van, which had New York plates, disappeared after turning left on Fort Washington Avenue.
“There’s been a lot of muggings here,” said an anonymous Columbia University student. “People usually get their iPhone taken, but this is just excessive.”
Longtime resident Ramon Nunez, 72, was beside himself after his block became a kidnapping crime scene.
“I’ve lived here for over 30 years and I’ve never heard of something like this,” he said.
Additional reporting by Larry Celona and Rebecca Harshbarger
Police at the scene of the abduction in Washington Heights last night.