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Press Release

North Carolina Man Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison for Kidnapping a Young Woman in Center City Philadelphia, Attempting to Kidnap Another

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Jacob Montague, 38, of Wilson, North Carolina, was sentenced to 19 years’ imprisonment by United States District Judge Joel H. Slomsky for attempting to kidnap a young woman in Center City Philadelphia in November of 2020, and then kidnapping another young woman the following day.

On November 1, 2020, at approximately 11:00 p.m., the defendant approached a young woman in Center City, brandished a knife, and ordered his victim to come with him. The victim responded by calling 911, and the defendant proceeded to retreat to his vehicle and drive away.

The next day, Montague returned to Center City. At around 5:30 p.m., he snuck up behind a young woman walking her dog near the Schuylkill River Park. The defendant rushed up to his victim, put a knife to her throat, and dragged her into his vehicle. Fortunately, nearby civilians intervened before the defendant could drive away from the scene. After a physical struggle, the civilians freed the victim from the defendant’s vehicle, and police arrived and arrested the defendant. The victim was injured during the attack and required multiple stitches following the kidnapping.

Montague pleaded guilty to the attempted kidnapping and kidnapping on April 10, 2023.

“Anyone who tries to snatch a stranger off the street isn’t fit to walk those streets with the rest of us,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Jacob Montague did so at knifepoint — not just once, but twice in two days. He’s a clear threat to public safety, and for the protection of everyone in Philadelphia and beyond, Mr. Montague needs to be behind bars. Today’s sentence ensures he’ll be there for a very long time.”

“Mr. Montague used a weapon and attempted to forcibly kidnap strangers off the street," said Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “The sentence handed out today demonstrates that brazen acts such as these are not tolerated in our city. The FBI thanks our partners, the Philadelphia Police Department and Pennsylvania State Police, for their invaluable assistance in removing violent criminals like Mr. Montague from the communities we serve.”

“The sentencing of Jacob Montague to 19 years in prison sends a clear message that predatory behavior like this will not be tolerated in Philadelphia,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin J. Bethel. “Montague's attempted kidnapping and subsequent kidnapping were terrifying acts of violence that left lasting physical and emotional scars on his victims. This case also highlights the bravery of the bystanders who intervened and risked their safety to free the victim and help apprehend the suspect. Their actions prevented further harm and demonstrate the power of community in keeping our streets safe. This sentence also reflects the tireless work of the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department in investigating these crimes and securing justice. While no sentence can fully undo the harm inflicted, this outcome should serve as a deterrent to anyone considering similar acts. The PPD remains committed to working with all our partners to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone who lives, works, or visits Philadelphia.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Priya DeSouza and Michael Miller.

Updated February 16, 2024

Violent Crime