Armed robbery at Green Line Cafe, shooting at 49th and Baltimore Thursday night

April 26, 2012

The Green Line Cafe at 45th and Locust was robbed last night around 9:35 p.m., police said. The person working in the cafe was about to lock all of the doors and count the register. Right before locking the front door, a young man came in, pointed a black gun at the cafe worker and asked him if he wanted to get shot or to give the money up. The worker handed over the cash (approximately $1,000) and the robber ran out and fled north of 45th Street towards Walnut Street.

The robber is described as a white male, late 20s, 5’7-5’8, thin build. He was wearing a green jacket, with a black hoodie underneath, dark jeans, and a black scarf over his face.

Also Thursday night, around 9:20 p.m. there was a shooting near 49th and Baltimore, police said. A 26-year-old man was shot once in the stomach, and then ran to Cedar Park where he saw two of his friends. The victim’s friends transported him to HUP where he was listed in critical condition as of 1 a.m. No arrests were made. Police said that this shooting was not random.

41 Comments For This Post

  1. Wtf Says:

    Hope everyone is ok, and can we please start a town watch around here?

  2. umbrella Says:

    or count your drops in a room not made of glass?

  3. wtf Says:

    @ umbrella- not sure what that means. Please tell us more…

  4. Philly Bud Says:

    I confess that I don’t like these reports at all. It seems to me that crime in our neighborhood is on the upswing. I remember how things were a dozen years ago when I first moved here, I had bars on my windows back then – but I thought things were getting better.

  5. Paul Says:

    @Wtf: already exists… though I don’t know in what capacity other than as a website.

  6. Rich Says:

    The description of the suspect at the Green Line makes me think it was a former employee or something.

  7. Paul Says:

    …in that he’s white? You’d think the other employee would’ve recognized him. I’m not trying to be dick, I just don’t think it makes sense…

  8. LW Says:

    WTF is right. How much cash does a cafe keep, anyway?

  9. Weaselmouse Says:

    Green Line doesn’t take anything but cash… and they’re pretty busy so I think there’d be plenty of it.

  10. Lucas Says:

    Of course the gun was black.

  11. SteveHolt Says:

    @ wtf- What umbrella means is that this particular Green Line Cafe is basically a large room covered on two sides by windows. It is quite easy to see inside at the intersection. If the employee at the end of the day is counting the cash register in that room it’s pretty much like a giant neon sign. “I’M ALONE AND I HAVE CASH.” It’s just bad policy to do that. If that is even what they do. Seems to me like umbrella has been watching them do this, and as such is the prime suspect. The description says the robber was wearing HALF of a mask, wherever we find the other half we find the culprit.

  12. Little Says:

    Sorry to break it to you:

    Mel-Lo Town Watch is a JOKE. They do NOTHING but have some meetings and give out candy on Halloween. I have never ever seen a town watch patrol in this neighborhood. And it’s been nearly 20 years.

    Also, half masks are SOLD as half masks.. you can buy them in any sporting goods sections. Frequently worn by cyclists, bikers, skiers.

    Irony is.. City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell lives not even one mere block from 45th & Locust. Not that you can tell by the increasing robberies around here…

  13. Alex Says:

    Wow, this is awful. So what can we in West Philly do to either keep these things from happening in our neighborhood, or at least keep ourselves and our friends safe? I guess awareness and information is always a good tool. After the terrible mugging & rape last summer I started putting out slips of paper with info on them at my events, starting with the numbers for the local walking escort and lockout services (215-243-0555 or 215-387-3942). I also offered free whistles (or $1 donation) that I got from the dollar store, and $7 pepper spray and any other tools people wanted from Amazon, at cost. If anyone is interested in collaborating in a safety initiative I’d be all for it. We can’t just wait til it happens to us or someone we know. For one thing I always call 911 when I hear anything that sounds like gunshots, to tell them which direction and how many shots.
    U-City Phone Numbers:

  14. cb Says:

    “Irony is.. City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell lives not even one mere block from 45th & Locust. Not that you can tell by the increasing robberies around here…”

    She actually doesnt live here, she keeps the house so she can claim she does but she has been renting it out to relatives or someone for years. I lived across the street from them.

  15. SW Says:

    Ironically, Mel-Lo Townwatch had a meeting just a few hours before this incident, and would very much like more neighbors to conduct more patrols, which we do, but we could use more help. Any TownWatch requires neighbors who are willing to volunteer their time on behalf of the community. Little and others, you are more than welcome to get involved! Our active google group also quickly relays crime information from many sources.

  16. A Says:

    How does town watch work? Do they walk around alone or in a group, and at what times? I was also wondering if we could do anything to just encourage people to hang out on their front porches in the evenings – that doesn’t involve signing up for anything or even leaving the house, but the more people that do it would still get more eyes on the street.

  17. L Says:

    IS crime actually on the upswing? I know there are year-to-year crime stats for the district. Can you break it down by neighborhood?

  18. Anon Says:

    More info on the Cedar Park shooting:

    Maybe TheFuzz can confirm but I honestly don’t think there’s been a huge upswing of crime in the area. Rather, we’re all much more connected and informed about what does happen.

  19. Anon Says:

    Whoops wrong crime link:

  20. Craig Says:

    Thanks, SW. Yes, Mel-Lo Town Watch is alive and kicking. We are always looking for new members. You can join our google group at to learn about meetings, communicate concerns, and get pretty regular updates on crimes in the neighborhood. There’s also a very active Town Watch centered around 48th Street.

    To A’s point, you can “town watch” anywhere, any time: on your porch, when you walk your dog, on your way to CVS. Keep your eyes and ears open, know your neighbors and your neighborhood, and report suspicious activity. Don’t be shy calling 911. You aren’t bothering the police, you’re giving them the info they need to do their jobs. Let them sort out what’s important and what’s not. The more calls they get, the better able they are to establish patterns and respond appropriately.

    Finally, after my own mugging 3 or 4 years ago, I started paying a lot of attention to crime trends in the neighborhood. I would say that at least in the last two years, in my immediate neighborhood (near the Green Line that was just robbed) crime is down significantly. It’s just that information is far more readily available. I would also say, crimes come in trends. Bad guys usually wash, rinse, repeat until they get caught. So it’s good to known when they’re out there, so you can keep your head up.

    That said, there is such a thing as knowing too much. Your neighborhood is no less safe than it was yesterday or last week. If knowing when every mugging, car break-in, or burglary happens is going to negatively impact your quality of life here, then I would humbly suggest you pay just a little less attention. Be vigilant, but not if it’s going to make you miserable.

  21. WTF Says:

    @Steveholt, thank you for clearing that up! I still would like to do something proactive. SW, I’ll volunteer, maybe you guys could put up fliers or an ad in the UCity paper? I am sure plenty of ppl would be happy to help out. @A i hang out on my front porch all the time, I think a lot of the crime happens after most front porch hanging ppl move it to the back porch or inside. However, I do think your idea about promoting the porch presence is an interesting one….

  22. Charles Says:

    Steve Holt!

  23. Stewie Says:

    This hit was obviously sponsored by Milk & Honey…

  24. Mamabear Says:

    I think they’re right, I think there’s not much more crime than there has been in the past, it’s just being reported more as new residents move into the neighborhood, and the communication to us about crime activity is being relayed much better. Crime always seems to spike in warmer weather (which we got extra early this spring), in the summer (when school is out), and around major holidays (because of money). I think it’s been worse for awhile because the economy has been bad and money is tight for everyone, but a lot of the crime I’ve observed seems to be done by younger people, teenagers and very young adults. My grandmother would call it “idleness”, but it probably stems from that as well as frustration and poverty. New people are moving in, older residents are being turned out of their houses so landlords can sell them, younger people hear their families being miserable and railing on and on about the so called gentrification, and they lash out. Also, there’s nothing for the youths to do. They just hang out all day until they decide to go do stupid things and get in trouble, because clearly it’s easier to go rob someone than it is to do anything else. I’m not going to be intimidated in my own neighborhood. Everyone needs a copy of the list of phone number to call for escorts, to report a crime, and all of that. I’d hazard a guess and say the old residents just didn’t report things and let things lie, but the new residents in West Philly are going to call the police 9 times out of 10. I personally resent being zeroed in on as a potential crime target because I’m white, so therefore I must be rich and carry money and valuables. Dumbasses, if I was rich, I wouldn’t be living over here in the ‘hood.

  25. Craig Says:

    FYI, something is going on with Google Groups right now, so if you try to join Mel-Lo Town Watch through the website, you can’t. I’m working on it, but you might have to wait until tomorrow.

  26. Craig Says:

    Sorry, ignore that. I’ve fixed it.

  27. Jen Says:

    Time for a security camera at The Green Line. Be safe y’all.

  28. Christina Says:

    Wish the reports wouldn’t list how much money was taken…now I know where I can get a quick $1000 with a compliant* counter person to hand it over.

    *absolutely not judging the counter person, he did the right thing, I’m just saying it doesn’t seem like too many hoops (security camera, more than 1 employee at close, weapons, etc.) to jump through for 1K.

  29. Case Says:

    @mamabear all kinds of people are being robbed and assaulted. Not just white people “with money”. We need safety for everyone. And people need to be knowledgeable about being safe when traveling in the city.

  30. NotaStudent Says:

    @mamabear..I’m sorry, but the area of the robbery is definitely NOT the hood.

  31. Stewie Says:

    @Case…Considering the prices Greenline has been charging for cold baked goods and above average coffee, their patrons are the real victims.

  32. jake Says:

    Have to agree with @case and @notastudent. By no metric are white people the only ones who suffer from crime.

  33. Joe Clarke Says:

    I think that Town Watch groups may go through cycles that follow the patterns of crime waves in the community. A friend was part of Mel-Lo during the 80’s crack epidemic and they were very active in response to many muggings in that area (I participated in one apprehension and watched another in action; it was that ubiquitous, then). I think, as things get better, there is a natural laxness that sets in. Also long-lived Town Watch groups need to replenish their ranks with new and younger blood. (I was a strapping 33 y.o. who didn’t mind a little scrape now and then.)
    Secondly – I know some guys that are a little on the periphery, and they were robbed at gunpoint in their apartment (forced break in) on the 4700 block of Baltimore. They told me that the guy was from Cedar Park and that they saw him earlier in the day selling crack in the open there. So although I’d like to think that the neighborhood is safe, there are other things apparently going on that make it extremely unsafe. There are also several guys pan-handling for quarters on the 4700 block, offering to sell a pair of sunglasses in exchange….That’s drugs!! Glasses, probably stolen. So the neighborhood is showing an influx of drugs, addicts and drug related crime.

  34. Stephanie Says:

    The 48th Street Neighbors Town Watch helped to arrest a wanted mugger a last week.

  35. Stephanie Says:

    Sorry, that happened two weeks ago.

  36. Ella Says:

    @mamabear – Clearly, you don’t know or perhaps care to know and understand the history of “your” neighborhood. Your assumption that older residents didn’t report crimes is completely off-base and speaks the lack of awareness of the political/social/racial climate of that particular time. Make no mistake that it is a very different thing for someone of color to call the police, especially once you cross the tracks or a particular street, than someone that isn’t, especially in the area where this crime occurred. This is still the case today. And parts of your…”assessment” of the hows and whys of crime in the neighborhood is also baseless and purely your misguided opinion. I’m glad that you refuse to be intimidated in the neighborhood. However, if you would like to claim some sort of ownership of the community and space in which you live, you might want to consider taking the time to really get know what’s going on with your neighbors, as opposed to this armchair rhetoric you’re trying to pass off as fact. There are many REAL social, political, economic, racial, education, class-related reasons for many of the issues in our neighborhood. It doesn’t help any of us to spout off stuff about it in such an uninformed way. In your case, all it does is expose your privilege and lack of community-mindedness. I don’t think that was what you were going for.

  37. Kate Says:

    Its always hard for me to read the comments on these posts. Instead of helping each other 9 times out of 10 it’s an argument on who knows the “real” neighborhood more. Lots of different people with lots of different tales. The focus should be on the particular crime and we can all work to prevent more. That’s what these alerts are for.

  38. Robin W Says:

    Submission to The Onion:

    “White Lady Feels She Is Racially Profiled Sometimes And Finds She Does Not Care For It. Not One Bit.

    West Philadelphia, PA – Mamabear, presumably both a mother and a bear, after reading about recent crime incidents in the neighborhood reflects on her own experience. ‘I personally resent being zeroed in on as a potential crime target because I’m white, so therefore I must be rich and carry money and valuables,’ she says. Feeling racially profiled in this single aspect of her life appears to be a tremendous burden for Ms. Bear. ‘Dumbasses, if I was rich, I wouldn’t be living over here in the ‘hood,’ she reports to the local neighborhood blog in an unsuccessful bid for sympathy from fellow readers who on the whole quite like the area and would live here at nearly any income level.”

  39. Ella Says:

    Just FYI, Patty Bulack coordinates that 48th Street Neighbors Watch, here is their google group:

    Looks like they have active bike/walking patrols, although I don’t know if they go all the way up to 45th and Locust.

  40. Stacey Says:

    Robin W FTW!

  41. Candy Says:

    Kate, I totally agree with you. So sad to read the comments on here sometimes. Instead of constructive criticism and meaningful dialogue that could improve both communication and quality of life in our neighborhood, you get insults and sarcasm that distract from any kind of real problem solving.

    Hard to imagine that these negative comments come from neighbors.

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