Two young men arrested in connection to several East Falls vehicle break-ins

 Lt. Edward Bier of the 39th Police District. (Matthew Grady/for NewsWorks, file)

Lt. Edward Bier of the 39th Police District. (Matthew Grady/for NewsWorks, file)

Police have announced the arrests of two young men in connection to several vehicle break-ins in East Falls.

The names and residences of the two suspects, aged 15 and 17, are being withheld because of their status as juveniles.

The teenagers were arrested after at least three car break-ins that took place within minutes of each other.

The two were originally caught attempting to enter a vehicle on the 3200 block of Midvale Ave.

Police said that at approximately 2:07 a.m. on July 27, the two suspects were trying to break into a silver Chrysler minivan when they were observed by officers on patrol. The suspects attempted to flee on bicycles when they realized they had been spotted but were stopped on the 3100 block of Midvale Ave., near Fox St.

Along the way, one of the suspects allegedly dropped a clear Ziploc baggie containing marijuana and a Garmin GPS, both of which were recovered by police. During a subsequent investigation, police tracked the GPS to a resident of the 3600 block of Merrick St. in East Falls, who told police that the GPS and $40 cash were taken from his Nissan Altima.

Also recovered during the arrest was an Apple iPod that was taken from a parked Audi on the 3500 block of Calumet St. at approximately 2 a.m.

Theft trends and prevention

According to police reports, at least 21 thefts from vehicles occurred in the month of July in East Falls and Southwest Germantown, down significantly from 44 in June. However, the total number of incidents may rise above these tallies as police count multiple break-ins that occurring on the same block as one report.

Straddling the change in months was a 30-hour crime spree spanning from June 29 to July 1, when at least nine cars were broken into, primarily in the area of the 5400 block of Wissahickon Ave. between School House Lane and Midvale Ave. GPS and electronics are among the top targets for thieves.

In this pattern of thefts, the crimes have been largely contained to the border between Southwest Germantown and East Falls. Parking lots along Kelly Drive where trail users park their cars are another target spot.

On several occasions, break-ins have occurred in the interior of the hillside neighborhood. On the 3500 block of Cresson St., thieves have twice entered cars with varying results. On June 20, a vehicle was ransacked, but nothing was taken; two weeks later, on July 4, a GPS was taken from a vehicle on the same block.

Thieves also struck the eastern half of the neighborhood. On July 7, approximately $10 of loose change and an Adderall prescription was taken from the 3500 block of Indian Queen Ln. On July 17, a bike rack was removed from a vehicle on the 3500 block of Vaux St.

While local police are paying additional attention to the neighborhood and undertaking proactive efforts to prevent crime – such as the distribution of theft prevention placards in targeted areas – they ask that residents be vigilant.

“Don’t leave items in your car, and don’t leave your car unlocked,” said Lt. Edward Bier of the 39th Police District at a recent community meeting in East Falls. “Make yourself a hard target.”

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