Northeast Times

Nabbing the burglars

Start­Frag­ment

Prop­erty crimes re­main big prob­lems in the North­east’s 2nd Po­lice Dis­trict, Capt. Mi­chael Mc­Car­rick said last week.

“We really got slammed with burg­lar­ies in the past year,” the dis­trict com­mand­er said.

But two of­ficers made enough ar­rests to make a ser­i­ous dent in that crime stat­ist­ic in Decem­ber.

Of­ficers An­timo Pic­cir­illo and Robert Don­nelly were named the 2nd Po­lice Dis­trict Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil’s Decem­ber 2011 Of­ficers of the Month for mak­ing three burg­lary ar­rests and a stolen auto ar­rest as well as busts for re­tail theft and oth­er of­fenses.

Those ar­rests con­trib­uted to a 50-per­cent drop in burg­lar­ies in the area Don­nelly and Pic­cir­illo patrol, the cap­tain and Mark Mroz, the dis­trict’s com­munity re­la­tions of­ficer, told PDAC mem­bers dur­ing their Jan. 10 meet­ing.

Track­ing down burg­lars isn’t a snap, the cap­tain said, adding that the crim­in­als ad­apt as they learn what oth­ers do that res­ult in their ar­rests.

“It takes hard work and ded­ic­a­tion” to make burg­lary ar­rests, the cap­tain said.

One tac­tic some burg­lars em­ploy is to simply drive up to tar­geted ad­dresses, throw up lad­ders and tell any­one who asks that they had been hired to do some work on the prop­er­ties.

Any­one who sees that should jot down a li­cense plate, call 911 or both, the cap­tain said.

An old prob­lem that re­sur­faces again and again in­volves crim­in­als pos­ing as util­ity work­ers to get in­to res­id­ences and be­gin steal­ing, Mc­Car­rick said. These im­post­ors fre­quently tar­get older people be­cause they be­lieve they’re easy vic­tims, un­re­li­able wit­nesses or, be­cause of their age, might not live to testi­fy at the im­post­ors’ tri­als if they’re ar­res­ted.

Last week, PDAC mem­bers took their monthly meet­ing on the road, so to speak. In­stead of meet­ing at the Phil­adelphia Prot­est­ant Home on Tabor Av­en­ue, mem­bers held their ses­sion at the new Po­lice Ath­let­ic League Cen­ter in the gym at Glad­ing Me­mori­al Pres­by­teri­an Church on Chel­ten­ham Av­en­ue in Ox­ford Circle.

The PAL cen­ter has been opened for just a few months and already has 300 neigh­bor­hood kids signed up for pro­grams, Mc­Car­rick said.

Mike Ragucci, a North­east res­id­ent, is the of­ficer in charge.

The cen­ter is avail­able to young­sters ages 6 to 18 from right after school dis­missal un­til 9 p.m., Mondays through Fri­days, dur­ing the school year. The cen­ters are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. dur­ing breaks and in the sum­mer.

All the pro­grams are free, stressed PAL’s Sgt. Eric Ervin.

“This is a free, safe en­vir­on­ment,” Ervin said. “We don’t turn any­one away.”

The goal of the pro­gram is to help kids, he said, and in that way im­prove neigh­bor­hoods.

That, the cap­tain said, slowly will have a pos­it­ive im­pact on the com­munity.

“The be­ne­fits of this pro­gram will not be truly felt for years to come,” he said.

To re­gister or for more in­form­a­tion, call 215-533-1395 or 215-291-9000, Ext. 165, or vis­it ht­tp://www.phillyp­al.com

PDAC chair­wo­man Lynn Genetti said the group will con­sider or­gan­iz­ing its an­nu­al Com­munity Day and Bike Ride, which is held in May, and its an­nu­al Of­ficer Ap­pre­ci­ation Day, which is a June event.

The group’s board also has an open­ing for sec­ret­ary.

The PDAC’s next meet­ing will be at 7 p.m. on Tues­day, Feb. 14, at the Phil­adelphia Prot­est­ant Home, 6500 Tabor Ave. ••

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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