Lancaster County man accused of trying to kidnap woman will stand trial

LANCASTER COUNTY — A Lancaster County man who attempted to kidnap a woman at knifepoint this summer at Kendig Square is headed to trial on several felonies, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Christopher Mitchell, 38, of Willow Street, was also denied bail by District Judge William Benner, the DA’s Office said. Mitchell is accused of trying to kidnap the woman, who he apparently targeted at random as she left a gym at the shopping center.

Assistant District Attorney Barry Goldman presented testimony from a detective who spoke of Mitchell holding a knife to the woman, knocking her to the ground, forcing her into her vehicle and demanding her keys, according to the DA’s office.

The woman “sprinted” from the vehicle as she threw her keys to the attacker. She sustained a cut on her ear in the attack, according to testimony.

Benner determined enough evidence was presented Monday to bound Mitchell to trial on four felonies and a misdemeanor. The judge also ordered that Mitchell remain at Lancaster County Prison without bail because he is a flight risk and a risk to public safety, according to the DA’s office.

West Lampeter Township police Detective Steve Heinly testified that:

  • Mitchell was identified as the attacker after receiving a tip from a Turkey Hill store employee. The employee said she read a press release about the incident and believed a man matching the attacker’s description had been in the store a few times around the time of the crime.
  • The employee said the store customer had wire-rimmed glasses and a distinct necklace. That necklace was found at the scene of the attempted kidnapping.
  • Police also revealed surveillance footage from the Turkey Hill and identified Mitchell as the man depicted.
  • Police knew Mitchell from prior encounters.
  • The victim identified Mitchell from a photo lineup as her attacker.
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