SARTELL, Minn. (WCCO) — Sartell Police are asking people to be on alert after a 56-year-old woman was kidnapped in a McDonald’s parking lot.

It happened around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday night near Highway 15 and Stearns County Road 1.

When the woman came out of the restaurant and got into her vehicle, a masked man was waiting for her.

Police Chief Jim Hughes says the man asked for money and told the woman to drive. They met up with another masked man, and the woman was assaulted before her kidnappers let her go.

“She was assaulted physically, choked unconscious,” Hughes said.

After being held captive for more than four hours, the kidnappers kicked the woman out of her car.

She ran to a Coborn’s store in Sauk Rapids where she got help.

Police later found her car abandoned, and the inside had been set on fire, possibly to destroy evidence.

“For our community and I think for the other metro communities here, it’s quite uncommon for something like this to happen,” he said. “At this point we don’t know if the suspects knew her, or if it was a random act of violence. We’re not sure at this point.”

Until they learn more, police are asking people to lock their doors when they go into a business, and to check the back seat before getting back inside.

Police aren’t saying how much money the kidnappers took or what type of weapons they had, if any.

As they search for leads, the victim is recovering physically and emotionally.

“[She’s] obviously shaken up. Any time anybody goes through something like this for that length of time, obviously they’re going to be traumatized by what happened,” Hughes said.

He says they have a number of investigators working on this case, and they’re also getting help from other jurisdictions.

If anyone has any information about what happened, they are urged to contact the Sartell Police Department at 320-251-8186.

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