Crime Watch

Media Report: Aggressive Please Touch Museum area panhandler arrested

August 18, 2014

A man who was allegedly approaching cars and people in West Fairmount Park and demanding money in recent weeks, has been arrested. Described as a white male in his late 30s/early 40s, the man was aggressively approaching mostly women with young children near the Please Touch Museum and other family-friendly areas, according to reports. Police were informed and were on the lookout and caught up with the unidentified man Sunday outside the Philadelphia Zoo, NBC10 reports.

Several people posted on social media about encounters with the panhandler. He approached a West Philly woman last Wednesday at Belmont and Lansdowne and told her that he was a Temple University professor and that his name was Shawn Sullivan. He told the woman, who posted about her experience on the TotLot listserv, that his wife and kids had been in a car accident and that he needed a ride to the scene of the accident or some money. He told many others similar stories, according to NBC10. He even approached the NBC10 news van and asked for cash while they were filming a news report about him after hearing of complaints. In some cases, the man was loud, looked agitated and was aggressive, especially when people refused to give him money.

We’ll update when we have more information.

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Three men sought after gunpoint robbery at 44th and Chestnut

August 7, 2014

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The robbery took place near 44th and Chestnut.

Police are searching for three young men who robbed a man and a woman near 44th and Chestnut early Tuesday morning and are asking residents to apply caution while walking at night in the area. The victims, both 23, were walking along 44th Street at about 12:45 a.m. and were approached by three young men who pointed guns at them and demanded their belongings. Two of the men were on bikes and the third was on foot, police say. The men on bikes were armed with black handguns.

The suspects took the man’s cell phone and wallet and the woman’s cell phone and backpack. The woman was also groped during the robbery, according to police. The male victim chased down the suspect who was on foot, fought with him and was able to retrieve the backpack and one of the cell phones, police said. Police also recovered one of the bikes on 45th street.

Police have provided descriptions of the suspects:

Suspect #1: Black male, 18 years old, 5-7”, black hoodie, blue jeans, black revolver.

Suspect #2: Black male, 20 years old, 5-10”, black revolver.

Suspect #3: Black male, 6-1”, 185-190 lbs., short hair, white t-shirt, 18-19 years old, blue jeans, white sneakers.

If you have any information about the suspects please call Southwest Detectives at 215-686-3183, 3184 or 3189.

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Man shot and killed Monday afternoon at 53rd and Delancey (updated)

August 4, 2014

Police say a 39-year-old man was shot and killed on Monday afternoon outside a food market at 53rd and Delancey. and ABC6 are reporting that the man was shot several times in the back at about 4:15 p.m. and was pronounced dead at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

UPDATE: Reportedly, the shooting was captured on surveillance video. provides description of the suspect as a man wearing an orange t-shirt and blue jeans. The suspect fled in a gold-colored minivan north on 53rd St after the shooting.

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Lil’ Pop Shop burglarized recently, but crime stats overall down in University City neighborhoods

August 1, 2014


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Despite a few high-profile crimes in recent days in the Spruce Hill neighborhood, including the burglary of Lil’ Pop Shop near 44th and Spruce on Monday and robberies at 45th and 46th and Larchwood, this summer has been fairly quiet in the University City area, according to crime stats released by the University City District earlier this week.

The stats cover an area from 50th Street east to the Schuylkill and Spring Garden (in Powelton) and Market (in Walnut Hill) south to Woodland Avenue (see map). They show a decrease in residential burglaries and robberies in the area compared to last summer and a significant drop since a rash of burglaries and robberies in February and March.

Lil’ Pop Shop owner Jeanne Chang says someone smashed the glass front door at the shop overnight on July 28 and stole cash, a crime similar to many reported in December and January. Police caught that guy though. A police source said that a man was arrested for a series of burglaries, including several burglaries at local businesses, may have committed as many as 20 in the area.

University City, like much of city, has seen a fairly steady drop in crime in recent years. The drop is likely steep here because of the increased activity of a number of public safety organizations, including the Philadelphia Police Department, Penn Police, the UCD Ambassadors and several neighborhood watch groups.


Crime statistics from the University City District for the last 12 months.


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33-year-old man arrested after trying to choke, rob a woman near 45th and Larchwood

July 31, 2014

Police arrested a man yesterday afternoon after they say he choked a woman and tried to rob her as she walked near 45th and Larchwood.

The 29-year-old victim, Corrine McDonald, told NBC10 that she was visiting friends in the neighborhood and was walking along the 4500 block of Larchwood at about 12:40 p.m. when a man came up from behind and began choking her, then pulled her into a nearby alley (see video below). She said that she began to scream and fight back. Police who were patrolling the area heard her, rushed to the scene and apprehended 33-year-old Andre Taylor, who reportedly lives in a halfway house in East Falls. Police found a piece of wire and string that they believe Taylor used to choke McDonald.

Police say Taylor also tried to rob a woman at 46th and Larchwood on Sunday. She was reportedly grabbed from behind and choked with her earphone cords. The attacker fled after the woman gave him $7.

Taylor is being charged with attempted murder, robbery and other charges, police say.

News soon began circulating on social media, prompting some residents to comment on the brazenness of the attack.

NBC10 video:


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Man sought for punching and robbing woman at 47th and Baltimore

July 29, 2014

Editor’s Note: As is often the case with surveillance videos released by police, we debated how to report on this for fear of reinforcing stereotypes. In the end we decided to publish the video to help with some measure of justice, but also to maybe start a conversation about what our responsibility as citizens are in a situation like this. 

TrolleyattackPolice are asking for the public’s help in finding a young man who attacked and robbed a 39-year-old woman in what appears to have begun as a bump while getting off the trolley.

The incident took place at around 5:30 p.m., July 10 at 47th Street and Baltimore Avenue. Today, police released surveillance video where the attack can be seen (see below). The woman was exiting the route 34 Trolley when she appeared to push or bump into the man who was standing in the doorway. The suspect can be seen throwing something at the woman after she exited (police say it was a cup). He then followed the woman, punched her and after a brief struggle grabbed her headphones. The suspect can then be seen getting back on the trolley before quickly exiting and fleeing on foot toward 46th Street.

The victim was treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where she received two stitches to her lip, according to police.

The suspect is described as a black male, 20 years old, 5’11”, thin build, clean shaven, wearing a dark colored t-shirt with writing on the front. He was also wearing black shorts and had a multicolored backpack with thin shoulder straps.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact Southwest Detective Division, Det. McDermott #770 by calling 215-686-3183/3184. You can also text a tip to PPD TIP or 773847.


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