2nd PDAC honors Officers of the Month

Bad things could have happened.

When three armed rob­bers split up as they left a Cottman Av­en­ue bank on June 16, there were 10 cops from the North­east’s 2nd Dis­trict wait­ing for them out­side.

All that blue didn’t stop them; they bolted. Sud­denly, 10 of­ficers were chas­ing three armed men down North­east streets crowded with people in the early af­ter­noon.

The cops chased their men past people com­ing out of the nearby health cen­ter, past groups of kids, and, in the pro­cess, not one shot was fired and nobody was hurt. 

Capt. Mi­chael Mc­Car­rick, the dis­trict com­mand­er, re­cently told mem­bers of the 2nd Po­lice Dis­trict Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil he was proud of the of­ficers for their col­lect­ive ef­fort to nab three dan­ger­ous crim­in­als while re­main­ing con­scious of the safety of every­one on the street.

ldquo;This could have gone south quickly,” he said.

The of­ficers, all present at the PDAC’S re­cent meet­ing at the Phil­adelphia Prot­est­ant Home, were honored as June’s Of­ficers of the Month.

Mark Mroz, the dis­trict’s com­munity re­la­tions of­ficer, gave the de­tails of the rob­bery and ar­rests.

Shortly after 1 p.m. on June 16, the three men, their faces ob­scured by black bandan­nas, entered the PNC bank at 2200 Cottman Ave. The branch is close to the city’s Health Cen­ter No. 10 and the North­east Re­gion­al Lib­rary.

One of the ban­dits sub­dued an un­armed se­cur­ity guard and forced him to the floor. A second man ordered em­ploy­ees and cus­tom­ers to the floor at gun­point. He kept them there while the oth­er two rob­bers jumped over the tell­ers’ counter and star­ted to put money in a white plastic bag. 

The men were try­ing to get in­to the vault when elec­tron­ic devices in the branch aler­ted po­lice.

Of­ficers Steven Be­rardi, Ray­mond Mas­cioc­chi and Linda Crusemire re­spon­ded. When Of­ficer Ned Fe­lici ar­rived, he peered in­to the win­dows and saw the gun­man stand­ing over the cus­tom­ers and em­ploy­ees ly­ing on the floor.

Fe­lici aler­ted all re­spond­ing of­ficers and po­lice ra­dio that the bank was be­ing robbed. The of­ficers sur­roun­ded the build­ing. Po­lice­men Tom Ed­wards and Ron­ald  Rey­mer were wait­ing out­side the Cottman Av­en­ue exit as two of the rob­bers headed to the door. Ed­wards ordered the men to drop their weapons, but the duo raced through the door and fled east of Cottman and then south on Oak­land Street.

The third rob­ber knocked Of­ficer James Storm off bal­ance while dash­ing out a bank door on Hor­rocks Street and flee­ing south.

The rob­bers ran past nu­mer­ous chil­dren and adults as they tried to elude the of­ficers. Be­rardi saw one of the sus­pects, later iden­ti­fied as Dur­rell Brown, 28,  dis­card a bundle of money as he ran south through an al­ley. Be­rardi grabbed Brown on the 7100 block of Saul St.

Of­ficer Christine Flem­ing had seen Brown drop a weapon and re­covered it. Of­ficer Valer­ie Fe­lici, the wife of po­lice­man Ned Fe­lici, re­trieved the money Brown al­legedly had dis­carded and re­turned to the bank to help pre­serve the crime scene.

Of­ficers Mas­cioc­chi, Crusemire, Ed­wards, and Rey­mer con­tin­ued to pur­sue Dur­rell Brown’s broth­er Lawrence, who had a plastic bag filled with money in one hand and a weapon in the oth­er, ac­cord­ing to Mroz. 

Lawrence Brown, 27, fled to the 2200 block of Engle­wood St., where of­ficers tackled him to the ground. Brown dropped the bag but con­tin­ued to struggle with the of­ficers while grabbing at his waist. Of­ficers over­came Brown, searched him and found his weapon in his jack­et pock­et, Mroz said.

The third rob­bery sus­pect, 29-year-old Vic­tor Beck­with, who emerged from the Hor­rocks Street en­trance of the bank, was over­taken by of­ficers Ned Fe­lici, Storm and John Madonna. A weapon re­portedly was found in his pants pock­et.  Ad­di­tion­ally, Storm found the sus­pects’ get­away vehicle.

All of the of­ficers were nom­in­ated for bravery com­mend­a­tions. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or jloftus@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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