57-year-old man arrested during burglary on 4000 block of Spruce; plainclothes police officer injured

Posted on 27 May 2015 by

Plainclothes police officers arrested a 57-year-old male during a burglary on the 4000 block of Spruce Street on Tuesday. The buildings on this block are mainly used for off-campus student housing. The man was caught inside a three-story twin house shortly after 2 p.m. when he exited an apartment with a bag filled with stolen items, including a $1000 Mac Book laptop, according to police. A plainclothes police officer was injured during a struggle which ensued when he and another officer tried to detain the suspect. The injured officer was taken to the hospital and treated for a head injury and a broken hand.

Plainclothes police observed the suspect earlier that day when he was first sitting on the steps of one of the buildings and then was walking up and down the block, according to a police report. The officers matched the male’s appearance to an earlier crime alert in the area. When the man entered one of the buildings, the officers followed him and heard some banging noise coming from the second floor. When the officers went to investigate they noticed that the door of one of the apartments was damaged, and then they observed the suspect exiting the apartment with a bag in his hand. The suspect dropped the bag and ran a few feet down the hallway but then turned back and punched one of the officers, according to police. The suspect was arrested after a short struggle.

Police say that this man is also suspected in other burglaries in the area. On Tuesday, a police source said that burglaries were a concern right now.

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Car break-in suspect nabbed over weekend

Posted on 06 April 2015 by

Just recently we reported a high number of car break-ins in the Cedar Park area and vicinity. On Friday, April 3, undercover cops from the 18th Police District arrested a man who was breaking into a van parked near 47th and Larchwood. The incident happened at around 12:45 p.m., according to a tweet by Joe Murray of the Southwest Detectives.

When the unidentified man was brought in for questioning he confessed to 10 more thefts from vehicles. The man has 26 prior arrests, including 16 for burglary and theft, according to Murray.

It is not known yet which car break-ins this person had a hand in. Over the past month, there have been at least 15 thefts from vehicles reported in the area between S. 48th and 51st Streets and Spruce St. and Baltimore Ave., according to Crime Reports. Also there were four car break-ins just south of Baltimore Ave between 46th and 48th.

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Woman’s body found on 5100 block of Spruce St

Posted on 20 March 2015 by

UPDATE (9:35 p.m.): The 29-year-old woman was shot to death several weeks ago, but her body wasn’t discovered until this morning, according to police. Several people live in separate bedrooms in the boarding house, according to reports. The woman’s body was found in the first-floor living room under a mattress or blanket, and there was a foul smell in the house, according to police. Police also discovered the crime scene in one of the 3rd floor bedrooms where they believe the shooting took place. The investigation continues.

9:54 a.m.: Police are investigating a homicide on the 5100 block of Spruce Street. They say a woman’s body was found this morning, shortly before 7 a.m., inside a boarding house. Police say the woman lived in the boarding house with her boyfriend, and that she was probably killed a few days ago.


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Multiple car break-in reports on Hazel Avenue, near Cedar Park

Posted on 18 March 2015 by

Here’s a reminder to all not to leave any valuables in your parked car. Several car break-ins have been reported on Hazel Avenue near 51st Street and in the Cedar Park area in the past several days. Some of these reports came from our readers who wanted to alert their neighbors. Here’s one of them:

“Just wanted to inform you that there have been a string of car break-ins along 51st street near Hazel Ave. over the last week. My roommate’s car was broken into the night of 3/13, and a GPS device was stolen from her glove compartment. A few days prior, my downstairs neighbor (whose car was parked on 51st St. near Hazel) found that someone broke into his car and stole the bike in the backseat…”

While we were not able to confirm these two break-ins with the police, we found out that there were other break-ins and thefts from cars on Hazel Avenue recently (Source: on March 7 on the 4900 block of Hazel; on March 8 on the 5100 block; and on March 10 on the 4800 block. A car parked near the corner of 51st St and Larchwood Ave was also broken into on March 10.

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Shooting victim, a LaSalle grad, entrepreneur and, social worker, remains in “very critical” condition

Posted on 09 March 2015 by Mike Lyons


Mary Pitts-Devine. From Linked In.

The 46-year-old woman who was shot eight times Sunday morning by a neighbor who then shot himself remains in “very critical condition” at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, according to police.

Police say that Mary Pitts-Devine had an ongoing dispute with her male neighbor, identified in media reports as 53-year-old Steven Outlaw. They lived in separate apartments at 4530 Spruce Street in a three-story converted twin. Outlaw reportedly lived above Pitts-Devine, an entrepreneur, writer and former social worker.

The dispute culminated in Sunday’s shooting. Police recovered a handgun in Outlaw’s apartment that was registered to him.

Pitts-Devine, a 1997 graduate of LaSalle University, is the CEO and Founder of Prophetic Presentations, an artistic production company that is “speaking to the hearts of mankind via the arts,” according to its website. On the site, she writes that she has “a desire to help those trapped in the social ills of life, such as drug addiction, homelessness, disparity of all kinds, and severe family dysfunction. This burden stemmed from my brokenness I experienced as a child growing up in Foster Care.” On social media platforms, she writes that she is a breast cancer survivor and a kidney transplant recipient.

Neighbors have said that the dispute between her and Outlaw had been ongoing for about two years and that he had accused her of tapping his telephone line.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Ms. Pitts-Devine. We’ll update with new information when we get it.

Mike Lyons

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Latest Crime Reports: Police looking for three serial robbers; Burglary arrest

Posted on 19 February 2015 by

Police are looking for three men between 18 and 20 years old who they say have been involved in at least four robberies in West Philly over the last two weeks. The first robbery took place on Feb. 8 near 38th and Baring in Mantua, according to police, when the suspects robbed a pizza delivery man at gunpoint. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken in that robbery. Police say the same three men used a gun to rob a 27-year-old woman near her apartment entrance at 44th and Pine on Feb. 12. They reportedly took the woman’s phone and purse.

The third robbery took place in Powelton Village, near 31st and Hamilton on Sunday, when the men robbed a 20-year-old woman, also at gunpoint, near her apartment, according to police.

The latest robbery happened on Monday, Feb. 16, when the suspects responded to a Craigslist ad by a person who was selling a paintball gun. The seller brought the paintball gun to a location near 41st and Spring Garden where he was robbed at gunpoint by the same three men, according to police. They reportedly took the man’s laptop and cell phone.  Continue Reading

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