Gunpoint robberies: Victims speak

Update: 6 ABC reported Wednesday night police took three suspects into custody in the armed robberies.

The family took no notice as they passed the gray Honda Accord parked at 19th & Cuthbert in Center City, but the occupants of the car took notice of them.

Robbers leave stolen Honda to confront victims

Drew Williams, his parents, brother Matthew and his girlfriend Jacqueline, had just finished a fabulous meal at JG SkyHigh in the Four Seasons Hotel located in the Comcast Center, 19th & Arch. They were minutes away from the terror of a gunpoint robbery at 6:45 on a quiet, cold Tuesday night.

Armed robbers surround five victims

The crime took 59 seconds. 

Here is Drew Williams’ account. 

The group had made a very early dinner reservation because reservations were tight and they wanted to see the sunset from the hotel’s 60th floor.

They parked a few blocks away at Liberty Place and walked to the restaurant in the golden light of the late afternoon.

Williams suspects the robbers were looking for well-heeled patrons leaving the expensive restaurant.

Picking their marks showed smarts on the thieves part, along with a couple of other things they did. Plus a dumb thing. 

The car they used was stolen a short time before, which is consistent with their MO, as police suspect these guys have pulled a half-dozen gunpoint robberies in Center City in recent months.

After leaving the restaurant, Williams and his party walked on narrow Cuthbert Street. Might they have been safer on broad, well-lit JFK? Maybe, he says, but there’s no way to know for sure. 

They walked about three-quarters of the way up Cuthbert when the Honda pulled up. Three men exited and quickly surrounded the family. One remained at the wheel. 

They were all masked. One stuck a gun in Williams’ belly as the other robbers corralled the rest of the family against a wall. 

The man with the gun on Williams “demanded to see my wrist,” he said. 

His father Glenn “kept his hands in his pockets. He was resisting,” said Williams. 

Another gun was pointed at Glenn. “Both look like Glocks,” which have distinctive looks. “I couldn’t tell if they were .9 millimeter or .45s,” said Williams.

They were trapped. With guns pointed at them, and two women, neither fight nor flight was impossible. The best course was the path of least resistance.

“I was in utter shock, but I was very calm at the same time. I never thought my life was in danger at that point, just do as they ask and they will be on their way,” thought Williams.

It later hit him that he could have been killed in an armed robbery four blocks from City Hall, a few days before D.A. Larry Krasner made his ridiculous comments downplaying Philadelphia crime. 

“It was so surreal, you can’t believe this is happening,” said Denise Williams, Drew’s mother. “I was focused on the gun pointed at Drew. I was trying to keep these details in my mind for later, but you’re so shaken.” 

Drew said the robbers were dressed in black — Black men in their early 20s who spoke with authority, as if they had done this before, but slightly nervous, too.

To his surprise, they didn’t demand wallets from the men, just the Rolex watches worn by Williams and his father, insured for $30,000.

The bandits dug into Jacqueline’s large purse for cash, grabbed some and her cell phone. They didn’t paw through Denise’s tiny purse. They didn’t take the handbags and were not interested in credit cards, just cash and valuables.

They made a mistake with Denise. She was wearing a Lagos necklace, earrings and bracelets, which they did not recognize as valuable.

Another mistake was choosing a street with excellent surveillance cameras.

Jacqueline’s cell phone got tossed on the sidewalk, probably because they realized cops could use it to trace the location of the car. “We don’t want your phones,” one of them said.

The entire incident took less than a minute.

Once they pulled away, Drew dialed 911 and a bystander went into the Comcast Center to summon a cop who is stationed there.

Williams and his parents live in Old City, where a groom was robbed at gunpoint a few nights after they were robbed. Williams says he has lived in several parts of Center City “and up until this event, I have always felt safe.”

Now, with armed robberies and carjackings, he said, “I have to be cautious. You don’t know when someone will come at you with a gun.”

Being armed in this case would not have helped, and possibly made things worse, said Drew.

“You think there’s safety in numbers,” said Denise, “but nothing would have helped. You have to be aware of your surroundings, but you can’t let it make you paranoid.”

She and Drew agreed they just lost possessions, which can be replaced. The one-minute incident could have ended much worse.

29 thoughts on “Gunpoint robberies: Victims speak”

    I can relate to the Williams’ family incident. No, I was never robbed, but my house in Jersey was robbed twice. It seems that a township cop had a side business. Think about it. Who better knows the activities and personal information of township residents ?
    Mr. Williams is right about the weapon this time. Professional thieves know what they’re doing and treat these crimes as the business that they are. ( reminds me of the old ‘K & A Gang ‘ )
    This time – pros. Most times, nervous amateurs or drug addicts .
    Glad that they’re all safe,

  2. The proliferation of guns in this country has made us unsafe. We are not safe in schools. We are not safe in malls. We are not safe going to concerts or sporting events. We are not safe in Houses of Worship. and we are not safe walking on our city streets. And some are not even safe in their own homes. No matter what the motive or the opportunity, the mental health issues, the financial status, who is the mayor or the district attorney,the “METHOD” is always guns. We are not safe, America. And it is because of guns. Purdue Pharma was finally held accountable for pushing drugs that lead to the opioid epidemic and countless deaths. Laws prevent law-abiding citizens from obtaining dangerous drugs. Yet guns flood our country. We are living in a sick society.

      Always nice to hear your opinion. For the most part, I respectfully disagree.
      When we were kids, we had a ‘family’, who taught us respect and responsibility. ( tow of my favorite words that have fallen by the wayside ).
      We have a proliferation of laws that are collecting dust, unused and unwanted. Overtime, the Feds have cut back supporting the states and the cities. No longer are there mental health facilities. Treatment for years meant ‘taking drugs’ . Complacency has lead to more politicians getting wealthy on our dime. More division in Washington D.C. has led to little or no help with the help that is needed.
      and last. GUNS ! in the ’50s & ’60s, there were probably more illegal guns that you were aware of. Every Vet that was ?lucky? enough, brought home a souvenir from either Europe of the islands. It was common to see rifles and lugers and other war souvenirs. All of which was useable. Korea and Vietnam was quite similar. Guess where the AK 47s came from ? Not all was illegal . Illegal was breaking into our armories and stealing everything that could be carried. You probably weren’t aware of that, either.
      We used to say. We don’t need any new laws. we have perfectly good laws that were nere used !
      Merry Christmas
      Happy & Healthy New Year,

      1. Tony,
        Thanks for always being a gentleman……. No, I didn’t know that there were so many illegal guns out there in the 50’s and 60’s, but , as you describe, the owners did not collect these guns to use them. I would not object to anyone owning a collection that was meant for display, or “human interest”. But that’s not the case today. We have a HORRIFIC crisis going on in this country. I agree, we’ve cut back on mental health treatment, which is a tragedy, resulting not only in gun violence, but in homelessness. You nailed it when you said the divisiveness in Washington has led to little or no help. That doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and stop trying. We have the power through our vote to elect lawmakers who will actually DO something about this gun crisis, but I can tell you in no uncertain terms, that today’s Republicans will obstruct any attempt at common sense gun safety. Voting Republican is voting for a death cult. (I include the response to the Pandemic in that statement). Not your Grandfather’s Republican Party.

    2. As I may have told you before, Naomi, stop whining about guns and work on overturning the Second Amendment. NOTHING will change until 2A comes down. More than 99% of gun owners cause no trouble with their arms.
      P.S..: The vast majority of gun crime is done with ILLEGAL guns, which your woke D.A.s are very reluctant to prosecute.

      1. I agree the second amendment needs to be repealed. …..As far as the vast majority of gun crimes being done with illegal guns… WHO CARES? The guns are there for the taking. Any one so inclined can obtain a gun, or put one together from a kit. The gun manufacturers and the gun-toting Repugs are the equivalent of dope pushers. The idiots who compare gun violence with car crashes are the problem. The IDIOTS who repeat the tired garbage about “criminals intent on committing crimes will still get guns. (Why have any laws,??? someone is bound to break them….)….This is a sick society. Continually blaming Krasner (and progressives) is insane when it is REPUGS who refuse any restrictions on guns. No other country in the world has this problem. I repeat. American gun culture is SICK.

        1. WHO CARES? The people interested in actual solutions, rather than ranting gunphobes, who think “guns’ are the problem rather than criminals and woke D.A.s.
          Even the mayor of S.F. has reversed her moronic defund the cops ideas.

          1. Woke DA’s and gunphobes aren’t shooting people. Childeren without access to guns are not shooting. people.Criminals without easy access to guns COULD not shoot people. I’ve said it many times, this is the last. Anyone with a basic knowledge of crime knows that there are three components, Method, Motive, and Opportunity. GUNS are the method. Without them there would be far fewer murders, suicides, and injuries.

          2. I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.
            Guns are inanimate objects. They don’t fire on their own and the vast majority of gun crimes are committed by CRIMINALS with ILLEGAL guns.
            So, if you aren’t going to attack 2A, at least attack the CRIMINALS because THEY are the problem, not the 300 million guns in private hands, including mine.

          3. You mean criminals like this?….”5-Year-Old Ga. Girl Is Killed in Thanksgiving ‘Accidental Shooting’ by 3-Year-Old Relative “……..

    3. Some random thoughts on your comments, Naomi:
      40,000 or so people a year die in auto accidents. Should we outlaw cars?
      The ONLY way to get rid of guns is to amend the Constitution, and I do not see that happening in the foreseeable future.
      There are more than 300 million guns in the USA. If guns were REALLY the problem, you’d know it.
      Those hoodlums who robbed the people in Philadelphia, do you think they wouldn’t have committed the crimes they did had guns been outlawed?

  3. I too can relate. 1968 my bride to be and me were walking to a bar in Germantown. I parked one half block away.  I heard footsteps behind us and just as I turned a teenager grabbed my fiancee’s pocketbook and ran. I ran after him, the adrenalin flowing. Lucky for me he ran much faster. I know I was in shock when we went back to that bar. I was visibly shaking as I asked or hollered for the bartender to call the police. 
    We filed a report.

    The kicker; Maybe a year or so later my fiancee or wife? got a call that her credit card was discovered in a cathouse in Mt. Airy. True story, but seriously the bs my wife had to go through was a real pain in the arse.

  4. The really sad part is the morons who voted for Krasner could care less about these victims.


    Keep flashing some light on what’s going on in this city led by kenney krasner and outlaw.

    1. There is no direct connection between gun violence and Kenney or Krasner. But keep blaming them. THOUSANDS of gun deaths and THOUSANDS more injuries in this country and thats all you clowns can say? Not one remotely helpful suggestion from the lot of you, with the exception of Stu, and those who support repealing the 2nd amendment. Short of that, I also suggest we overturn HELLER decision. I hate to give credit to the RIGHT, but they have managed to do a good job of overturning, Roe, or rendering it useless.

      1. Good luck overturning Heller with current Supreme Court. How about demanding long prison terms for anyone caught with an illegal gun, and that includes straw buyers, often the criminal’s baby momma? And a 10-year asd-on when a gun is shown during a crime?
        Or would that sound like mass incarceration?

  5. as always Naomi is spot on.We just need to confiscate every gun in America and shut down all the gun factories and the all crime will be over. Kaput.And the misguided lads who robbed the strollers of their rolexes will return to their premed studies and everybody will skip hand in hand thru a field of daisies.Peace and love will reign thought the land . I love it.

  6. As usual Naomi is spot on. I f we just confiscate every gun in Amerika and shut down every gun factory all we be bliss in Arcadia.The misguided lads considering robbing rolexes downtown will reconsider and attend a joan Baez concert instead. Crime will be over .kaput. a relic of the Trump past.

  7. Interesting that this post became about ME…. That’s the RIGHT for you…. nothing intelligent to say, so they attack those who disagree. They LOVE to have an enemy…

      1. I am able to both attack repugs and trump, AND offer intelligent commentary. ….Same as you attacking the “woke”. Doesn’t negate the interesting commentary you provide. And, btw, I have an actual factual basis when I “attack” Trump and Repugs. Unlike attacking Krasner for the crime problem that has plagued the entire country which has NO factual basis.

        1. Naomi,
          I would love to have a serious conversation with you, but that is so remote and unlikely.
          I could produce a spreadsheet that would put holes in your opinions. You love to attack ‘repugs’ and Trump. You say that you would throw a shot at Krasner, but he is innocent.
          I would suggest that you spread your righteous ( leftist ) wings and try reading and watching more neutral or balanced reporting. We all know that both sides are heavy handed. Many times, truth does not enter into reporting. Try looking more to the center.

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