Within a three-hour window last Sunday, three individuals were attacked in Northwest Philadelphia by armed robbers wielding Tasers, according to police.
At 1:30 a.m. on March 17, a 21-year-old man was attacked by a group of black men near the 4400 block of Cresson Street in Manayunk as he made his way home from a bar.
Following an altercation, the suspects ran off with a Verizon LG cell phone, $40 and a wallet. The victim, who sustained injuries to his face, eyes and forehead, was transported to Roxborough Memorial Hospital in stable condition.
At 3:52 a.m., a 35-year-old man was attacked on the 100 block of Rector Street in Manayunk.
Police say the victim was sitting inside his car when a group of black men opened his car door, punched him repeatedly in the face and Tasered him in the neck.
The man was able to drive away. Nothing was stolen.
About 30 minutes later, a 22-year-old man was attacked on the 4000 block of Mitchell Street in nearby Roxborough.
According to police, a group of black men struck the victim in the head with a bottle, punched him in the face, knocked him to the ground and kicked him repeatedly. He sustained minor injuries. Nothing was taken.
All three attacks involved a group of four to six unknown black men. Four suspects were similarly described in all three cases.
Officer Christine O’Brien, a spokesperson with the Philadelphia Police Department, said detectives believe the incidents could be related.
“They can’t necessarily say that they’re not,” said O’Brien.
Reaction from Manayunk and Roxborough
Kevin Smith, a longtime Manayunk resident who heads the Manayunk Neighborhood Council, said the robberies are concerning, but not cause for alarm at this point.
“We’re concerned, but unless something is established as a trend, then we leave it to the police to deal with it just as a crime that happened,” said Smith.
He noted that the incidents won’t personally affect his sense of security while walking around the neighborhood.
Don Simon, a longtime Roxborough resident, called the robberies “alarming,” noting that the neighborhood has very little violent crime. Car break-ins are more common, he said.
“It’s another thing to have someone confront you with a weapon, which is what a Taser basically is,” said Simon.
A fourth robbery involving a Taser also occured in West Philadelphia around 2:30 a.m. that same morning.
The robberies came just two weeks after a similar attack in nearby Chestnut Hill.
On March 3, a 21-year-old man was robbed and Tasered on the 200 block of E. Highland Avenue.
A 32-year-old woman was also robbed and Tasered on the same block on Jan. 14.
Officer O’Brien, a Philadelphia police officer for nearly 15 years, said reports of armed robberies involving Tasers are uncommon in the city.
“These were the first two I had really heard of,” she said of the attacks in Chestnut Hill.
No arrests have been made yet.