Town Watch group to receive award following robbery arrest

Posted on 18 April 2012

A group of West Philly residents who patrol their neighborhood from 47th to 49th Streets between Baltimore and Kingsessing will receive a commendation tomorrow for their help in catching a phone thief recently.

The patrol area of the 48th Street Neighborhood Town Watch (click to enlarge).

Patty Bulack, Charles Hamilton and Bruce Dorpalen, who are active members in the 48th Street Neighborhood Town Watch, will receive commendatory letters from Penn’s Department of Public Safety. All three were crucial in the apprehension of a man wanted in connection with the April 8 knifepoint robbery of a Penn student at 42nd and Spruce. A cell phone was taken in the incident. An arrest warrant was issued for a man that the Town Watch group spotted the day before in their neighborhood. When they spotted him again the following night they alerted police.

Here is a description of their actions from an e-mail posted by Bulack on the group listserv:

Last night Bruce, Charles and I went out on our usual 9 to 10 pm walk through the neighborhood. During that walk, Officer Vallette texted me to tell me that there was a warrant out for the arrest of the young man that we had seen on Saturday because of an investigation involving details of the knife point robbery that pointed directly to him. As we were walking south on 49th St. between Windsor and Springfield, he passed us on the sidewalk going north and Charles knew it was him. After calling 911, we called Officers Olesik and Vallette, and Olesik came and picked up Charles to continue finding him. They did find him on 48th St at Larchwood, with the phone he had taken.

Soon after they apprehended the suspect, Hamilton’s wife went into labor and police drove him to the hospital, where his son was later born.


20 Comments For This Post

  1. shazoooo! Says:

    Great job!!!

  2. Bianca Says:

    Thanks Patty, Bruce and Charles for keeping our neighborhood safer! And congratulations to Charles on our newest little neighbor. 🙂

  3. Stacey Says:

    Nice! And congratulations to Charles!

  4. fred walton Says:


  5. Patty Bulack Says:

    Hello All,
    Just a few corrections – the police drove Charles to his home, where he met his wife and took her to the hospital. And they had a beautiful girl! I feel so privileged to have been able to hold her yesterday!

  6. 49th Street Says:

    Does anyone know something about the African Cultural Center at 5000 Springfield Ave? We are consistently awakened to loud noise on Saturday nights/Sunday am, including people screaming at the top of their lungs like they are high on drugs. Last night we saw several people who were too drunk to walk, get in cars to drive home. In the morning, we found bloody rags littered on the street. The cops showed up at 4am, ushered people into cars, but that was it. This seems to be a regular Saturday night event at this place and I was wondering if this is on the Town Watch’s radar.

  7. Sean Dorn Says:

    Its a catering hall. From what I’ve heard, most of the rowdy parties that spill out it are weddings. Years ago it was an African grocery store/small cafe/Western Union office for sending money home. Oh and the owner fixed old copy machines so it was also full of copy machines. Then he hit being a catering hall.
    Not that drunks leaving a wedding are not obnoxious to neighbors, or that a catering hall can’t do a better job of managing how its customers impact the neighborhood. But its more likely high on cheap champagne.

  8. 49th Street Says:

    It seems like the space is more than a catering hall for weddings, but rather is serving as an informal club. This is the event from Saturday May 5, 2012:

    And this upcoming event:

    My questions are:
    1. Does the center have permits to operate these kinds of parties?
    2. How do we work with the center to create a space that includes a diversity of uses but respects that this is a residential neighborhood?

  9. 50th Street Says:

    Report nuisance liquor licensed establishments by May 7th

    I live on 50th Street in between Springfield and Warrington and this has been a problem for awhile. Patty Bulack of the 48th Street group posted an email where you can report this problem. I already have and I encourage you and anyone else to let the authorities know that we have had it with this nuisance business.

    Lt. Brian H. Sprowal

  10. Amara Says:

    Report violations to the state Liquor Control Enforcement as well:

  11. Maryte Papadopouls Says:

    Thanks for the info. I have reported the place to both emails listed above. The parties at this place have kept me and my family up many nights. So sick of it.

  12. Sean Dorn Says:

    Does anyone know the law about catering halls and liquor? Typically the building owner does not have a liquor license or serve the liquor, but if they are selling drinks at a “club night” you might get Liquor Control interested. They seem kind of pathetic at enforcement, except for raiding Local 44 over what turned out to be a non-issue.

    I’d stick with local police as your best bet.

  13. Sean Dorn Says:

    Also you might try notifying Blackwell, Marty Cabry, as well as the DA’s Nuisance Task Force as well as police and include links to the flyers for club nights. The licences to be a “dance club” open to the public and to be a catering hall for closed private events are totally different and can eventually get L&I to close them down.

  14. Amara Says:

    There is a Catering Club license that I think may apply to this type of establishment and there aren’t any Catering Club places in all of the 19143.

  15. 50th Street Says:

    Has anyone heard anything or gotten a response from the above resources about the complaints towards the African Cultural Center?

    I called 911 3 times last Saturday night with a noise complaint and it did not seem to work. Anyone else?

    Looks like there is a Lingerie party tonight!


  16. Maryte P Says:

    I went to the 18th police district community meeting at Calvary Church this past Thurs. The police suggested calling the 12th district community relations officer at 215-386-3120 and letting him know about the place. Also call L and I to make a complaint and keep calling 911 when they have parties. I am not looking to the sexy lingerie event.

  17. 50th Street Says:

    Thanks for the other resource, I will call them. It would be nice to know if anything has been done or if any authorities have looked into this place.

  18. Maryte P Says:

    I emailed the council woman, but did not get response. It really is frustrating.

  19. Katie Says:

    Phone calls are best when it comes to public officials. –Your Local Community Organizer

  20. 50th St Says:

    12th District meeting and Issues at the African Cultural Center

    I urge anyone with issues regarding events at the African Cultural Center
    (50th & Springfield) to attend the upcoming 12th Police District PSA#4
    meeting, which will begin at 6:30pm tomorrow (Thursday 5/31) at the 12th
    Police district, (65th & Woodland) and voice your opinion to police. Over
    the past several months a number of folks have been consistently calling
    police, the PA Liquor Control Board, and the DA’s Nuisance Task Force
    regarding late-night events, noise, public urination etc at the property,
    and it appears to be working insofar as we have their attention. There are
    events advertised at the center most weekends throughout the summer, so our
    work at getting a response/action from the owner and city officials on
    whether or not they have the proper permits, liquor license etc, is only
    just beginning.

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