Northeast Times

Attack of The Slasher

Car tires have been slashed and oth­er van­dal­ism has plagued May­fair and Holmes­burg in re­cent weeks. Res­id­ents are fed up.

Marty Cos­tello reads a handout from the 15th Po­lice Dis­trict about re­cent van­dal­ism on his street in May­fair. Cos­tello, who has lived on Aldine St. street for three years, did not have his tures slashed but did have his soft-top con­vert­able roof slit open a few weeks ago.

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Po­lice flooded the area of Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Aldine Street last week after nu­mer­ous res­id­ents there woke up Feb. 13 to find that their car tires had been slashed.

But des­pite the po­lice pres­ence, the crooks re­turned any­way and did about twice as much dam­age early last Sunday, leav­ing more than a dozen car own­ers with thou­sands of dol­lars in re­pair bills.

“Now, we’re put­ting twenty-four-hour, sev­en-day cov­er­age out there, which is drain­ing (on po­lice re­sources). But it’s a qual­ity of life prob­lem and it’s af­fect­ing hun­dreds of people,” Capt. Frank Bach­may­er, com­mand­er of the 15th Po­lice Dis­trict, said at an emer­gency com­munity meet­ing Monday night.

About a dozen Town Watch mem­bers and res­id­ents at­ten­ded the private gath­er­ing at the 15th dis­trict sta­tion. Mem­bers of the news me­dia were pre­ven­ted from sit­ting in on the ses­sion due to the po­ten­tially sens­it­ive dis­cus­sion of po­lice and Town Watch strategy.

Speak­ing in broad terms out­side of the meet­ing, Bach­may­er said that the dis­trict will ded­ic­ate even more patrols to the neigh­bor­hood.

“I have to have a pre­ven­tion side and an ap­pre­hen­sion side of it,” the cap­tain said. “Now, we’re totally in pre­ven­tion mode. To­night, I’m try­ing to ex­plain (to neigh­bors) what our de­ploy­ments are go­ing to be and ral­ly­ing the com­munity to help us get in­form­a­tion. I’m talk­ing about how the com­munity can help us solve this prob­lem.”

The most re­cent epis­ode of tire slash­ing oc­curred early Sunday and in­volved at least 18 vehicles on the 4000 block of Aldine St. and the 4000 block of Tees­dale St. The loc­a­tions are just east of Frank­ford Av­en­ue and north of Cottman Av­en­ue in Holmes­burg.

Cottman Av­en­ue is con­sidered the bound­ary between Holmes­burg and May­fair.

Six cars were van­dal­ized on Aldine and 12 on Tees­dale, ac­cord­ing Sgt. Den­nis Rosen­baum of North­east De­tect­ives.

A res­id­ent dis­covered the dam­age at about 2:15 a.m. when he went out­side for some fresh air and heard the hiss­ing of punc­tured tires, Rosen­baum said. The man quickly spot­ted the dam­age to his own vehicle, then walked up the street to find that tires on his wife’s car also had been punc­tured.

A sim­il­ar epis­ode oc­curred on the same block of Aldine Street early on Feb. 13, a Monday, when at least sev­en cars were van­dal­ized, Rosen­baum said.

The patrol dis­trict re­spon­ded in force to the first in­cid­ent.

“We had ad­di­tion­al patrols (in the area) after the first in­cid­ent and I went down the street per­son­ally at 12:45 a.m. on Sunday morn­ing (Feb. 19) and spoke to of­ficers in the area,” Bach­may­er said. “We were a little con­cerned about the bar crowd let­ting out and had of­ficers at Frank­ford and Cottman. They got a call at 2:15 to go to Frank­ford and Aldine.”

Po­lice de­tained and ques­tioned three males that morn­ing, but found no evid­ence link­ing them to the van­dal­ism.

“In­form­a­tion was sketchy. A cop saw three males (on the street) and they ran. The cop tackled one of them and he had a gun,” Bach­may­er said.

Oth­er of­ficers soon nabbed the oth­er two sus­pects. The al­leged gun­man was charged with weapons vi­ol­a­tions but not with the van­dal­ism. The oth­er two males were not charged crim­in­ally.

Ac­cord­ing to Rosen­baum, de­tect­ives con­tin­ue to search for pos­sible wit­nesses and, ideally, sur­veil­lance video from the af­fected blocks. On Monday af­ter­noon, they handed out fli­ers ap­peal­ing for in­form­a­tion.

“When we were out there, no one (said they) saw any­thing,” Rosen­baum said.

Rep­res­ent­at­ives from the May­fair and Ta­cony Town Watch groups at­ten­ded Monday’s meet­ing, ac­cord­ing to Bach­may­er. Tech­nic­ally, the May­fair group cov­ers the west side of Frank­ford Av­en­ue, while the Ta­cony group cov­ers south of Cottman Av­en­ue. The crime scenes are with­in yards of both ter­rit­or­ies.

In yet an­oth­er case of auto­mobile van­dal­ism, res­id­ents of the 3100, 3200 and 3300 blocks of Knorr Street (just west of Frank­ford Av­en­ue and five blocks south of Cottman Av­en­ue) awoke on Feb. 4 to dis­cov­er that about two dozen cars had been dam­aged with spray paint and an un­known cor­ros­ive sub­stance. Po­lice have no evid­ence that the in­cid­ent is re­lated to the more re­cent tire-slash­ing epis­odes, Bach­may­er said.

Po­lice en­cour­aged res­id­ents to call 911 if they see sus­pi­cious activ­ity in pro­gress. To re­port in­form­a­tion after the fact, call North­east De­tect­ives at 215-686-3153. ••

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You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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