River Wards experience end-of-summer crime spike

Au­gust has been a crime-heavy month in the River Wards. Here's what you need to know about sev­er­al in­cid­ents, plus what to look out for in your neigh­bor­hood.

The CVS store on Ara­mingo Av­en­ue, where po­lice of­ficers re­spon­ded last week to what turned out to be a phony bomb threat. SAM NE­W­HOUSE / STAR PHOTO

In the last two weeks, bomb squads re­spon­ded to the CVS on Ara­mingo Av­en­ue, and a high-speed FBI car chase ended with three sus­pects be­ing ar­res­ted on Hagert Street in Kens­ing­ton. 

The car chase in­volving FBI agents, which began on Le­high Av­en­ue, ended with a car driv­en by sus­pects ca­reen­ing around the nar­row corner of Moy­er Street and spin­ning out on the 2600 block of Hagert Street in Kens­ing­ton. 

Three sus­pects were ar­res­ted after the high-speed chase, on Thursday, Aug. 22 at about 4 p.m.

“They tried to get in­to my house,” said Hagert Street res­id­ent Bud Dix­on, a re­tired truck driver. 

Dix­on de­scribed how the sus­pects’ car was rammed by what he be­lieved to be an FBI SUV in­to vehicles out­side O’Bri­en’s Ser­vice Cen­ter auto shop at the corner of Hagert and Moy­er streets, leav­ing three cars at the shop dam­aged. The cars also des­troyed a neigh­bor’s plant­er on the side­walk, he said.

Then, the sus­pects, whom he de­scribed as two black men and one His­pan­ic man, got out and ran on foot – one of them try­ing to open Dix­on’s front door, which was locked.

“They didn’t have guns – they threw their guns away, I heard,” Dix­on said.

FBI spokes­wo­man Car­rie Adamowski de­clined to re­lease the sus­pects’ names or state what they are charged with.

“Those gen­tle­men are in Phil­adelphia po­lice cus­tody,” Adamowski said.

However, the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment’s Pub­lic Af­fairs Of­fice had no re­cords of sus­pects ar­res­ted in this in­cid­ent.

More re­cently, at about 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26, the Phil­adelphia Bomb Squad was called in to re­spond to a phony bomb threat at the CVS phar­macy loc­ated at 2400 Ara­mingo Ave in Kens­ing­ton, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice re­port, an em­ploy­ee re­ceived an an­onym­ous phone call from a man who said he had planted a bomb in the phar­macy de­part­ment of the store.

Of­ficers con­duc­ted a walk-through and loc­ated an uniden­ti­fied black gym bag was found in the em­ploy­ee area. The bomb squad ar­rived at the scene and dis­covered that the bag con­tained gym sneak­ers, ac­cord­ing to po­lice. The scene was made safe by 8:50 p.m.

An em­ploy­ee of the CVS on Ara­mingo Av­en­ue said she was not al­lowed to dis­cuss the in­cid­ent.

A man­ager at the store de­clined to com­ment.

But 26th Po­lice Dis­trict Cap­tain Mi­chael Cram says these crimes were rare oc­cur­rences, but not part of a lar­ger trend.

“We’re see­ing a slight up­tick – but neither one of those in­cid­ents are re­lated to it,” Capt. Cram said last week.

Capt. Cram said that a re­cent spree of con­struc­tion site rob­ber­ies in the 26th Po­lice Dis­trict, with more than 15 such rob­ber­ies oc­cur­ring in the last two weeks, led him to is­sue a pub­lic safety warn­ing to res­id­ents of the dis­trict. 

Cram is ask­ing for the pub­lic’s aid in identi­fy­ing il­leg­al activ­ity at con­struc­tion sites.

“If they see activ­ity off-hours at a con­struc­tion site, they need to con­tact us right away,” Cram said. “A lot of people see a truck at a con­struc­tion site at night, they fig­ure it’s just reg­u­lar work oc­cur­ring.” 

In 10 in­cid­ents, con­struc­tion sites at new homes on the 1100 block of Hope Street were stripped bare of cop­per and cop­per fix­tures. In the oth­er five in­cid­ents, tools were stolen from con­struc­tion sites around the in­ter­sec­tion of Nor­ris and Am­ber streets.

Cram said they have no sus­pects at this time.

“It could be former con­tract­ors or con­struc­tion work­ers who know the site, it could be burg­lars,” he said.

He de­clined to dis­cuss stra­tegic meas­ures the po­lice will be tak­ing to end this up­tick in crime. 

“We’re work­ing on it,” Cram said.

“What we have here are mostly prop­erty crimes. It’s a sign of an up-and-com­ing neigh­bor­hood. People have things here, so oth­er people want to come and take them,” Cram con­tin­ued.

If you have in­form­a­tion re­gard­ing a crime, con­tact the po­lice tip line at 215-686-TIPS (8477), text a tip to PPD TIP (773847) or email tips@philly­po­lice.com. ••

You can reach at snewhouse@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus