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

Posted on 31 July 2014 by Mike Lyons

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

Posted on 29 July 2014 by

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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Got a crime problem? Get the police districts and service areas straight

Posted on 16 July 2014 by Mike Lyons

A recent post on the West Philly Local forum led us to think about the most effective way of reporting ongoing crime to the police. A forum poster wrote:

“I have seen an increase in drug dealing at 49th and Baltimore, right by and along side of New Third World. I was offered Drugs on several occasions, and felt very uncomfortable. This had occurred today in the afternoon and last week, & wondered if anyone had the same experience, or what to do about it! I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable in my own neighborhood!”


Map image from

One suggestion on our Facebook page where we shared the above post was to attend the monthly meeting of the police 18th District at the Calvary Church (4700 Baltimore Ave.), where a police lieutenant listens to citizen complaints and tips (the next one is Thursday, July 17 at 6 p.m.). But another reader rightly pointed out that the 18th District is divided into three “police service areas (PSAs),” and that the corner where the alleged drug dealing was taking place was just over the western edge of PSA 3, which has its community meeting at the Calvary Center. The northern border of PSA 3 (and all of the PSAs in the 18th) is Market Street. The eastern and southern border of PSA 3 is the Schuylkill River. Correction: The southern border of both PSA 1 and 2 is Baltimore Avenue and 57th Street divides them. 49th Street divides PSA 2 and PSA 3.

The neighborhoods south of Baltimore are in the 12th District. The Powelton and Mantua neighborhoods are served by the 16th.

Confused? How about it. We’re trying to get more information about the meetings at the other PSAs in the 18th. We’ll update when we get more info.

One way to alert police to ongoing problems is to e-mail the PSA commanders. Their e-mail addresses are here. For crimes in progress, 911 is still the way to go. A police officer we talked to said maybe the best way to get some action on a complaint is to call your police district, ask for a supervisor and request that a complaint be placed on the roll call. That will alert oncoming shifts of the problem each day for three days.

As for the drug problem at 49th and Baltimore, the cop we talked to said he would get the complaint on the roll call.


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Has anyone seen a grill-less reddish Buick? Parked SUV damaged in hit and run

Posted on 11 July 2014 by

A couple of West Philly residents are looking for information on a hit-and-run accident that took place early Thursday morning on 52nd St between Catherine and Walton. Here’s what happened:

A black Nissan Xterra SUV was parked on 52nd street Wednesday night and its owners discovered on Thursday morning that the back left side of the car had been smashed. “It was hit so hard that the car was pushed up onto the sidewalk,” writes Sarah, one of the car owners. The car that hit the SUV left behind its grill. The owners learned from neighbors that the car was hit between 2 and 3 a.m. by a reddish Buick. Reportedly, three women were in the car, and smashed into the SUV so hard that their airbags were deployed before speeding away.

The product numbers on the grill left behind indicate that the car involved in the hit and run is a Buick Park Avenue, possibly a 1997 make. The SUV owners contacted police about the incident. Their insurance will not cover the damage for the SUV that they have owned for less than a month unless they have a license plate for the other car.

The car owners would appreciate any information on this hit and run. Please email to:

Here are the photos of the damaged SUV:


The back left side of this Nissan SUV sustained significant damage in the hit and run.


The car was hit with such force that it was thrown on the sidewalk. (Photos courtesy of SUV owners).


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Bar fight ends in shooting near 45th and Baltimore (updated)

Posted on 06 July 2014 by

An altercation between two men at a local bar spilled out onto the sidewalk and ended in a shooting on Saturday night, according to police.

The fight started at Queen of Sheba and ended outside on 45th Street near Baltimore with one man shooting the other. The shooting was reported around 11:20 p.m., according to police. After the shooting both men fled the scene on foot through the driveway of the 500 block of South Melville Street, with one man chasing the other.

UPDATE: Police say the gunman fired 11 shots. The driveway and surrounding area was searched for a potential gunshot victim, but no one was found. Police say they also checked all area hospitals with no result. No other injuries were reported.

Police have identified the shooter and are currently searching for him (they won’t release his name). The victim is described as a black male who was speaking with an African accent. He was wearing a plaid shirt, tan pants, and had no shoes on.


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Student shoots alleged burglar near Drexel campus (updated)

Posted on 04 June 2014 by Mike Lyons

Update: Police have confirmed that the man shot was 22-year-old Baron Alexander, son of convicted late-term abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, whose notorious clinic was a few blocks from the break-in. Alexander changed his name from Gosnell in 2012, The Daily News reported. Alexander lived a couple of houses down from the row home where the break-in occurred, according to police.

A college student shot and critically injured an alleged burglar early this morning at a home on the 3700 block of Brandywine in Mantua, according to reports. is reporting that the shooting happened at just before 7 a.m. in a residence shared by several college students a few blocks from the Drexel campus. The 22-year-old man was shot three times and is in stable condition.


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