She was posting flyers about a police meeting when the purse snatchers struck

September 20, 2012


Longtime resident Fran Byers (center) during the re-opening of Clark Park last year.

A piece of advice for would-be purse snatchers: Don’t mess with the lady who organizes the meet-and-greets with the police.

Plain-clothes officers nabbed two teenage purse snatchers on bikes after they grabbed a shoulder bag from longtime resident Fran Byers near 48th and Baltimore at about 2 p.m. on Monday. That’s the same Fran Byers who organizes the monthly community meeting with officers from the University City Division of the 18th Police District. In fact, she was passing out flyers for the meeting when it happened. The teenagers rammed Fran from behind then grabbed her bag, pulling it so violently that her shoulder was dislocated, according to friends.

Fran won’t be at tonight’s meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at the usual spot in the basement of the Calvary Center for Culture and Community (801 S. 48th St.) The meetings provide an opportunity for residents to share information and concerns with police about crime and neighborhood issues.


10 Comments For This Post

  1. Christina Says:

    wtf. i mean, honestly now.

  2. brendangrad Says:

    Oh my! Mrs. Byers is a neighbor of mine just a few houses down. Every year during the holiday season she buys a red bow for each of the houses in our neighborhood and in the middle of the day she just comes up to each porch and hangs a red bow on it with a little note saying “Happy Holidays” or something like that. She is our block captain. She volunteers to help out in Clark Park. She is a poll worker at our local polling place and she volunteers to help at St. Francis Desalles. She is a good lady and this makes me sick.

    I hope she recovers soon. I am glad they found the guys who did this. How on earth anyone with an ounce of self respect could sink so low as to attack an elderly woman for her most likely small amount of money, is beyond me. But it serves them right that they got caught.

  3. Kelvyn Says:

    Just awful. Wishing Fran a speedy recovery. We wouldn’t get the police attention that nailed these kids so quickly if she and others weren’t as determined to keep us all informed.

  4. Lynn Major Says:

    I echo the sentiments expressed here…
    all but Brendangrad’s “elderly” descriptor, that is!!
    (…Young man, while I certainly appreciate your overall message, I urge you to choose your words more carefully. I don’t know Fran personally, but I can see from the glimpse of an orange chair in the photo that it was taken recently, and she doesn’t even look old enough to ride Septa for free… so I tend to doubt that she would prefer to be described with that “e” word. FYI – Some of us who are in fact old enough to be grandparents prefer to be called “older” or “distinguished.”

    a gray-haired neighbor

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Oh god neighborhood Baby Boomers, yes, let’s totally make this an argument about what constitutes elderly. Not because this woman isn’t elderly (she meets the commonly accepted definition of elderly, including free SEPTA rides, according to public records) but because you feel the need to be forever young. Fooooorever young.

    To Fran, get well!

  6. Heather Says:

    I am sad to learn that this happened to Fran but grateful the culprits have been caught. I’ve been a fan of her commitment to safety and community building in our neighborhood for years and applaud her efforts on all our behalves. It’s a particular shame, because my guess is even had they successfully gotten away with her purse, there wouldn’t have been anything of any real value to them in it. Most people don’t carry cash any more, and anything else with value (credit cards, phones) are quickly disabled to make them worthless. It’s hard to imagine the cash return on investment to the perpetrators of these crimes is worth it which either speaks to their desperation, or perhaps actual money is not the point.

    Regardless, I think I’ve been letting Fran shoulder too much of the safety burden in our neighborhood for too long. In honor of her, I am going to commit to doing more myself to try and make it safer for us all…including those rotten, purse-snatching hooligans.

  7. luna Says:

    Wow, I’m really sad to hear about this. I hope Fran’s recovery goes smoothly.

  8. Lou Says:

    This is awful! I’ve been to quite a few of the community police meetings of the last year or so, and Fran has always been welcoming and concerned about the issues I and other neighbors have brought to the meeting. I wish her a quick recovery and am so glad the police caught the jerks who did that to her.

  9. Stewie Says:

    Why didn’t Fran pull out her magnum from her Fanny pack on these punks?!?!?

    She needs to hit that tire shop on 47th and Gray’s Ferry on Thursday night for their weekly target practice!!

  10. Billy Says:

    she should come back punisher style to enact some justice on these fools

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