GPS in phones lead to thieves

Ain’t tech­no­logy won­der­ful?

There are two North­east men now un­der ar­rest on rob­bery, as­sault and weapons charges who prob­ably don’t think so.

Po­lice said Ald­ric “Cha­chi” Amelin, 20, and Joshua Cobb, 21, were ar­res­ted at Frank­lin Mills Ju­ly 23 when po­lice tracked them there through GPS on one of sev­er­al phones they had stolen earli­er that day.

Ac­cord­ing to Capt. Shawn Trush and Lt. Den­nis Rosen­baum of North­east De­tect­ives, Cobb and Amelin robbed eight teen­agers in three in­cid­ents that took place in the later af­ter­noon to early even­ing on Ju­ly 23.

Ac­cord­ing to Trush and Rosen­baum, Amelin and Cobb, who were armed with what turned out to be a BB gun, com­mit­ted a street rob­bery on the 7200 block of Large St. in Castor Gar­dens at 5:38 p.m. They then moved in on six teens hanging out in front of the Rhawn­hurst School at 7800 Castor Ave. at 5:56 p.m. Two of the teens tried to get away. One was struck in the head with a pipe; an­oth­er was hit in a leg. Amelin and Cobb got the teens’ phones and valu­ables and moved onto an­oth­er rob­bery on the 2500 block of Welsh Road at 6:02 p.m.

Mean­while, of­ficers re­spond­ing to the rob­ber­ies got in­form­a­tion from the vic­tims about their stolen phones. Some phones have apps that al­low them to be tracked. Rosen­baum said the in­form­a­tion was sent to the Po­lice De­part­ment’s Real Time Crime Cen­ter in South Philly. One of the phones was tracked to Frank­lin Mills, where there is an Auto­mated Pur­chas­ing Ma­chine at which phones and oth­er small high-tech items can be sold for cash.

Eighth Dis­trict of­ficers Mark Mazzoni and Daniel Richard­son went to the mall and eas­ily put Cobb, of the 1000 block of Bing­ham in Bustleton, in cus­tody, Rosen­baum said. However, Trush said, they had to chase Amelin, who lives on the 1100 block of Har­tel Ave. in Fox Chase, through a rain­storm as he raced in­to the mall park­ing lot.

They found him hid­ing be­hind some bushes, Rosen­baum said. Trush said Amelin later un­suc­cess­fully tried to es­cape cus­tody.

“Three rob­ber­ies in 45 minutes and they were caught with­in the hour,” Trush said. “It was good po­lice work all around.”

Amelin and Cobb are sched­uled for Aug. 13 pre­lim­in­ary hear­ings. ••

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