Two Northwest Philadelphia police officers arrested on theft-of-services charges

The Philadelphia Police Department announced the arrests of two cops who served in Northwest Philadelphia districts on Tuesday.

After an investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and city District Attorney’s Office, Lt. Aisha Perry, 53, and Officer George Suarez, 54, were arrested for theft of services from Philadelphia Gas Works, PECO and the Philadelphia Water Department.

Perry, a 31-year veteran who served in the 39th police district, was charged with six counts of theft of services, conspiracy and “risking catastrophe” – recklessly creating risk in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous materials.

Suarez, a 25-year veteran who served in the 14th police district, was charged with 10 counts of theft of services, six counts of conspiracy and 10 counts of risking a catastrophe.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey will suspend Perry and Suarez for 30 days with the intent to dismiss, a department spokeswoman confirmed.

A complicated career

While Perry’s last street assignment was with the 39th District as a police-service area (PSA) lieutenant, she had been assigned for some time to the Differential Police Response Unit, which monitors video surveillance cameras and has the reputation of being a resting spot for cops awaiting administrative recourse.

In 1994, Perry won a department commendation for heroism after she helped pull two people from a burning building and, three years later, received national coverage for writing Christmas notes to family and friends of a deceased woman who she came across while on patrol in Olney.

In 1999, a federal jury ruled in favor of Perry, who claimed she had been denied a promotion after reporting the attempted cover-up of a car crash caused by an intoxicated off-duty officer. As a result, she was promoted to sergeant.

The following year, while assigned to department’s reports-control unit, she won an award from the Guardians Civic League, an organization of African-American police officers. Perry said that through her work, she hoped “to make the Police Department a friendlier environment for everybody.”

Ironically, that same year she was accused in a lawsuit as being party to a hostile work environment, but individual charges were dismissed by courts.

After being promoted to lieutenant, Perry ended up in the 39th District – which covers East Falls, sections of Germantown and North Philadelphia – under the command of Capt. Stephen Glenn, who was unavailable for comment.

Earlier this year, a man drowned in the swimming pool of Perry’s Northeast Philadelphia home. No charges were filed.

Tough times for Northwest Philly police

The arrests of Perry and Suarez add to a turbulent few weeks in the department’s Northwest Division.

Two weeks ago, Inspector Aaron Horne and 35th District Capt. John McCloskey were suspended for 30 days and transferred from their posts owing to allegations of a quashed police report.

Horne, reportedly first in line for promotion to Chief Inspector, will move to the Forensics Bureau. McCloskey will join the Command Inspections Bureau, a night-command post known in certain PPD circles as “Siberia.”

The reshuffle created a couple of choice vacancies. PPD leaders are mum about who will eventually take over Horne’s former spot as commander of the Northwest Division. Nothing was finalized when NewsWorks recently checked in with PPD spokesperson Lt. Ray Evers.

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