String of robberies in Mt. Airy indicate larger pattern

Police are looking for the public’s assistance in solving three robberies that have occurred in Mt. Airy.

The most recent episode occurred on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 10:20 p.m. While on the 7300 block of Cresheim Road, the complainant, a 56 year-old female, was entering her apartment complex when the suspect pulled her black bag off of her shoulder. The bag contained a wallet with credit cards, checks, a cellphone, and $100 cash.

The suspect fled on foot from Cresheim Road in the direction of Allens Lane. The suspect is described as being a black male, 5’4″, aged 16 to 20 years-old, with a thin build wearing a dark gray sweatshirt.

The robbery pattern began the previous Wednesday, when on Oct. 2 at 9:09 p.m., a complainant was approached on the 7300 block of Devon St. by a young man who asked to use her cellphone. The complainant, also a 56 year-old female, screamed for help and was pushed to the ground by the suspect, who took a pocketbook containing an undetermined amount of cash, ID, credit cards, and a cellphone.

The victim was unable to provide a clothing description of her assailant, who fled south on Devon Street on foot.

Earlier this week, on Monday at 11:25 p.m., a 36 year-old man was approached at the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Mt. Airy Avenue by a young man who asked to use his cellphone. The suspect then demanded cash and the victim’s wallet at the point of simulated weapon. After taking a wallet and an HTC cell phone, the suspect fled on foot on Mt. Airy Avenue toward Chew Avenue.

The suspect was described as a black male, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Captain John Fleming, commanding officer of the 14th Police District, said that while the Cresheim Street incident is coded as a purse snatch and not a robbery, he indicated it fit the larger pattern that was occurring, with the two robberies in close proximity in an area not prone to such crimes.

“We presume that it’s someone just out of prison,” said Fleming, “or someone who feels that this is an easy area, where there are no cops.”

To hasten the suspect’s capture, police are altering deployments in the vicinity of the robberies and are closely monitoring the use of the stolen credit cards.

Anyone with information is asked to call 215.686.TIPS (8477), text a tip to PPD TIP (773847), or visit the department’s website www.phillypolice.com.

Fleming was optimistic that these measures would lead to an arrest.

“We may be jumping the gun,” he said, “but we just don’t want any more incidents.”

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