Stay alert, cops tell residents

It seems crooks have been rather act­ive lately in sec­tions of Fox Chase and Rhawn­hurst.

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, Fox Chase may be con­sidered among the safest neigh­bor­hoods in the North­east, if not the en­tire city. But it has been any­thing but crime-free of late, ac­cord­ing to loc­al po­lice.

Speak­ing at the bi­monthly meet­ing of the Fox Chase Homeown­ers As­so­ci­ation and Fox Chase Town Watch, Of­ficer Rich Si­mon, the com­munity re­la­tions of­ficer for the 7th Po­lice Dis­trict, re­por­ted that at least sev­en rob­ber­ies — in­clud­ing sev­er­al in­volving guns — have oc­curred in the neigh­bor­hood and sur­round­ing areas in re­cent weeks.

Fox Chase is part of Po­lice Ser­vice Area 1 in the 7th dis­trict. That sec­tor stretches from Rhawn Street north to Bloom­field Av­en­ue and from Roosevelt Boulevard west to the Mont­gomery County line.

On Aug. 2, someone robbed the Wawa store at Rhawn and the Boulevard in Rhawn­hurst. On Aug. 27, a bank rob­bery oc­curred at Rhawn Street and Ver­ree Road in Fox Chase. Dur­ing the crime, the crook poin­ted a gun at a tell­er and made off with $10,000.

On Sept. 5, an armed rob­ber tar­geted a taxi driver on the 500 block of Solly Ave. One day later, a mo­tor­ist re­por­ted a car­jack­ing on the 2300 block of Hoffnagle St., while a second rob­bery was re­por­ted on the 1700 block of Hoffnagle, Si­mon said. Both loc­a­tions are con­sidered part of Rhawn­hurst.

Two more gun­point rob­ber­ies oc­curred on Sept. 10 on the 2000 block of Solly Ave. in Rhawn­hurst and on Sept. 11 at Rhawn and Ver­ree, back in Fox Chase.

Com­munity re­la­tions of­ficer Mark Mroz, of the neigh­bor­ing 2nd Po­lice Dis­trict, fur­ther told res­id­ents at the civic meet­ing that po­lice had ar­res­ted one male in con­nec­tion with sev­er­al re­cent com­mer­cial rob­ber­ies.

Po­lice re­leased sur­veil­lance pho­tos of the then-un­known sus­pect on Sept. 14. One day later, they re­ceived a tip identi­fy­ing the al­leged rob­ber as 18-year-old Wil­li­am Brown of the 3600 block of Rhawn St. Of­ficers ar­res­ted the sus­pect near Cottman and Bustleton av­en­ues on Sept. 15.

Brown has been charged with rob­bing the Grace Dol­lar Store at 6900 Bustleton Ave. on Sept. 10 and is a sus­pect in the rob­bery of the Rong Nail Salon at 7105 Bustleton Ave. on Sept. 12, as well as the rob­bery of the Asia Ex­press Res­taur­ant at 7246 Castor Ave. on Sept. 13.

Po­lice also ar­res­ted a 14-year-old boy as an ac­com­plice in the Sept. 10 crime. The youth al­legedly served as a lookout.

In ad­di­tion to those vi­ol­ent crimes, both po­lice dis­tricts have been af­fected by a city­wide in­crease in burg­lar­ies. In many cases, burg­lars have been gain­ing ac­cess to homes through un­locked doors and win­dows. Res­id­ents who use win­dow-unit air-con­di­tion­ers should be aware that the units can cre­ate se­cur­ity vul­ner­ab­il­ity for a home.

Air-con­di­tion­ers should be in­stalled se­curely with screws or bolts so that they can­not be re­moved quickly and eas­ily, Mroz said.

Res­id­ents can fur­ther beef up home se­cur­ity by in­stalling out­door light­ing with mo­tion sensors, as well as alarm sys­tems.

“Stat­ist­ic­ally, (burg­lars) won’t stay in the house very long. But if you don’t have an alarm sys­tem, they’re go­ing to stay there all day,” Mroz said.

Res­id­ents should avoid hav­ing pri­vacy fences or tall shrubs around their prop­er­ties. Burg­lars like to take ad­vant­age of the cov­er.

In Fox Chase zon­ing news, the homeown­ers as­so­ci­ation’s zon­ing chair­man, Craig Turn­er, re­por­ted that the Med­ic­al Mis­sion Sis­ters at Pine Road and Strahle Street has scrapped a plan to build an adult day-care fa­cil­ity on its sprawl­ing cam­pus. The city’s Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment re­jec­ted the sis­ters’ ap­peal for a vari­ance, al­though the civic as­so­ci­ation had giv­en its con­sent to the pro­ject.

The sis­ters still plan to build 61 older-adult homes on their prop­erty. A con­struc­tion sched­ule has not been an­nounced.

Mean­while, Fox Chase Town Watch pres­id­ent Steve Phil­lips re­por­ted that his group has be­gun a con­cer­ted ef­fort to re­move card­board signs that have been pos­ted on many util­ity poles around the neigh­bor­hood.

Typ­ic­ally, the signs ad­vert­ise busi­nesses that want to buy junk cars or res­id­en­tial prop­er­ties. Oth­er signs pro­mote mov­ing or handy­man busi­nesses. Un­der city law, busi­nesses that wish to post signs on pub­lic prop­erty must first get ap­prov­al from the De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions. Ap­proved signs will have an L&I stick­er af­fixed to them.

The Town Watch has doc­u­mented al­most 700 il­leg­al signs, all of which mem­bers have re­moved and re­por­ted to the city. It is not known if sanc­tions have been im­posed against the vi­ol­at­ors. ••

The next Fox Chase Homeown­ers As­so­ci­ation and Fox Chase Town Watch meet­ing will be at 7:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day, Nov. 9, at Amer­ic­an Le­gion Post 366, 7976 Ox­ford Ave. 

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or

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