Police concerned about recent armed robberies in 14th District

 Capt. John Fleming (left, from a previous meeting) discussed an uptick in robberies in the 14th District recently. (Matthew Grady for NewsWorks)

Capt. John Fleming (left, from a previous meeting) discussed an uptick in robberies in the 14th District recently. (Matthew Grady for NewsWorks)

A string of robberies recently captured the attention of police in the 14th District.

According to police officials, the most troubling spot in recent weeks is a section of central Germantown known as Police Service Area Two (PSA-2).

Discussing the problem’s roots

At a recent community meeting, Capt. John Fleming said PSA-2 is currently the most violent in the 14th District. That assessment is the result of a string of robberies, some of which were performed at gunpoint.

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Besides a general proximity to Germantown Avenue, Fleming said preliminary investigations revealed no larger pattern to the robberies. However, he observed that pizza delivery drivers were targeted twice in one evening in an adjacent neighborhood.

According to police reports from April 23, someone called a local Pizza Hut requesting a delivery to the 7400 block of E. Tulpehocken St.

At approximately 9:25 p.m., the driver approached the destination and was robbed at gunpoint by three suspects, who were described as black males between 21 and 25 years old. Taken was a cell phone, wallet, car keys and $50 in cash.

About an hour later, a second pizza deliveryman was also robbed at gunpoint.

According to police reports, the driver arrived at the 1200 block of Cardeza St. around 10:40 p.m. After firing one shot from what was described as a handgun, the assailants took $300 cash and a cell phone.

The suspects, described as three black males, were last seen running eastbound on Cardeza Street.

According to police, all unsolved robberies remain under investigation, but detectives are paying extra attention to the pizza-driver cases.

Some bright spots

While the robberies are troubling, police also reported some recent success stories.

PSA-4, which includes Chestnut Hill and Cedarbrook, continues to experience downward trends in burglaries (the decreasing frequency began, in earnest, in 2013).

PSA-3 forms much of the western border of the 14th District. It had experienced a rash of car break-ins. Dozens of thefts from vehicles were reported in an area that ranged from the Chelten Avenue business corridor to the interior of southwest Germantown.

As a result, the area received additional attention from both uniformed and plainclothes police officers. From that, officers received a tip that led to the identity of several suspects who were eventually apprehended.

A warrant was served at a residence in the 5900 block of Greene St., and two individuals were arrested while multiple stolen items were recovered inside.

Lt. Scott DiDonato of the 14th District reported that, in the time since, there has only been a handful of car break-ins in the same area.

“It’s a matter of getting information from the community,” DiDonato said. “One thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, the problem’s solved.”

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