Kevin Doerr and Sean King had a busy December. The 2nd Police District officers made arrests in a couple of shootings and busted two people now charged in connection with a string of burglaries. Officers Stephen Nagy and Ronald Cain quickly got hold of two suspects who had robbed a man at a Castor Avenue bus stop.
All four patrolmen were honored as Officers of the Month by members of the 2nd Police District Advisory Council during their March 11 meeting at the Philadelphia Protestant Home on Tabor Avenue.
At about 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 25, a man waiting for a bus on the 6700 block of Castor Avenue was approached by three men, one of whom pulled out a handgun and said, “Give me your money.” According to Community Relations Officer Dianne Murphy, a second man removed headphones, a cell phone and $2 from the victim’s pockets. At that point, the victim lunged for the armed man and tried to pull his shirt over his head while trying to knock the gun out of his hand. For his trouble, the victim was punched several times, but not shot. The two men involved in the robbery then fled north on Castor.
The victim was able to call 911. Nagy and Cain heard a flash report of the robbery, and they spotted two men who matched the description of the robbers on the 6900 block of Castor. The victim was brought to that block and identified the men who robbed him. Both were charged with aggravated assault and robbery as well as weapons offenses. Police didn’t report what became of the third man, who didn’t participate in the robbery. Murphy identified one of the arrested men as Christopher Ortiz, 21, of New Castle, Del. He remains in custody at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center on State Road.
On Dec. 4, Doerr and King searched for and arrested a man wanted for a shooting that took place on Nov. 30 on the 500 block of Alcott St. The two cops tracked down their suspect, George Sewell, 18, of Carver Street, as he was coming out of a residence on the 400 block of Sanger Street. Murphy said Sewell had been arrested many times and has been identified as a member of the Lawncrest Boys, a group that operates around the Lawncrest Recreation Center.
Sewell, who turned 18 in January, is being held in the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on State Road. He is facing aggravated assault and weapons charges.
On Dec. 5, King and Doerr chased down a man wanted for shooting at a group of women on the 800 block of Brill Street on Oct. 25. The two cops chased Melvin Butler, 45, on foot from Bridge and Summerdale and caught up to him on the 900 block of Bridge, Murphy said. Found on Butler, she said, was a loaded semiautomatic handgun. He was charged with aggravated assault, weapons offenses and marijuana possession.
Butler, of the 5000 block of Roosevelt Boulevard, is free on bail and awaiting an April hearing.
Overnight on Dec. 27, Doerr and King were keeping an eye on a storage facility on the 6200 block of Oxford Avenue, where there had been multiple burglaries over several months, Murphy said. The officers had reviewed the facility’s security footage and saw a man scaling a fence and moving merchandise to a storage locker. They also noticed a woman entering in a vehicle to help the man remove items.
While watching the place on Dec. 27, they saw the man they recognized from the surveillance recordings moving stolen items around in a shopping cart. They arrested 18-year-old Petty Weche of the 1000 block of Rosalie Street and charged him with five burglaries. Police are further investigating Weche in regard to other burglaries in the Northeast, Murphy said.
According to court records, Weche remains in custody at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.
“We’ve had a terrible January,” Capt. Frank Palumbo, the 2nd’s commander, told PDAC members.
There were several homicides in Lawncrest, he said, adding, “Hopefully, we’ll make arrests in all the incidents we’ve had.”
There have been six murders in the new year in that neighborhood. One involved a mother and son shot in their home. Three men were killed in one incident, and a man sitting in a parked car was fatally shot.
Palumbo said police visibility has increased in the area. There are more bike patrols and more narcotics investigators in the neighborhood. He said there is a task force of investigators looking into the repeated robberies of the Wawa at Bustleton and the Boulevard. The store was robbed so often in the overnight hours that it is no longer open during those times. Palumbo said police believe the culprit lives nearby.
Area business owners should sign up for the Police Department’s SafeCam program, the captain said. Police register privately owned surveillance cameras, and will ask owners for footage that might pertain to area crime. Owners will not be obligated to testify in court. Although the city has hundreds of cameras that police can tap into, investigators can’t go live into privately owned systems. They can ask for footage. Police said many crimes have been solved by reviewing private security recordings. To re-gister, visit safecam.phillypolice.com.
The PDAC’s next meeting will be 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home, 6500 Tabor Ave. ••