After hearing on Action News Friday there had been eight point-of-gun robberies in Center City in recent weeks, I asked the Philadelphia Police Department for the dates and locations of the six not detailed by the TV station — 2300 Sansom and 18th and Cuthbert.
The cops told me they could not give me the information without having the dates and locations — which is what I was requesting from them, and which had been provided to 6ABC, the station said.
I get spotty help from PPD, but this was downright stupid.
While I was waiting for this info, there was another armed robbery, this time in Society Hill on Saturday night.
This is getting embarrassing for the city, and very much so for our flummoxed, woke, district attorney who was forced to apologize for “inarticulate” remarks saying there was no crime wave in Philadelphia. I ridiculed Let ‘em Loose Larry Krasner a few days ago.
Monday, Krasner came out of his burrow to address the non-existent crime wave in Center City.
Since I don’t like repeating myself, I will turn this column over to Ralph Cipriano, who writes the BigTrial.org website, and is one other Philly journalist who doesn’t fear taking on Krasner.
Before I step aside, I note that in the Dec. 7 robbery, and the one Saturday night, the men were robbed of Rolex watches.
These appeared to be random robberies, but were they?
How many Philadelphia men are wearing the watches that can cost $10,000 or more?
We’re they somehow targeted? How could that be done?
In New York City, the Bank of America warned employees to “dress down,” and to not show Bank of America logos, to avoid becoming victims of a non-existing crime wave there. Just saying.
And now, I turned the commentary over to Cipriano:
Clueless D.A. Larry Kasner is on record as saying there’s no crisis of violent crime here in Philadelphia, and that visitors shouldn’t be fearful about coming to town.
Tell that to the victims of some 15 robberies in the past week in Center City. In a half-dozen of the those crimes, people were robbed at gunpoint of their wallets, credit cards, cell phones, as well as five watches including four Rolexes.
“We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness, we don’t have a crisis of crime, we don’t have a crisis of violence” and we don’t have a “big spike in crime,” Krasner famously insisted at a disaster of a press conference last week that the D.A.’s office has since deleted from its Facebook page.
Asked whether tourists should be fearful of coming to Philadelphia at a time when the city had already set a new all-time record for homicides with murders, Krasner, whose comments made him a national joke on Fox News, claimed, “No, they should not.”
“They should come into the city of Philadelphia, they should enjoy every wonderful thing this city offers, in terms of shopping, in terms of staying overnight, in terms of dining out, in terms of walking around with their kids, wearing their mittens, they should enjoy all of that,” the D.A. said.
“But no, they should not be fearful about that,” he said about the specter of violent crime, because, “This city welcomes them with open arms.”
At 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 7th, a 26 year-old West Philadelphia man and a 64-year-old visitor from Naples, FL, were leaving the Four Seasons Hotel, where they had just dinner. The two were walking eastbound on the 1800 block of Cuthbert Street when a gray 2017 Honda Accord pulled up.
Three black males exited the vehicle, two of whom were armed with Glocks. They robbed the two men of two Rolex watches worth a total of $37,000. The robbers were last seen driving northbound on 18th Street in the Accord, which turned out to be stolen.
This wasn’t an isolated occurrence.
As of last week, gunpoint robberies, which include carjackings, were up 25%, from 1,689 last year to 2,102 this year.
And here are some recent examples.
At 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 11th, three young men from Stratford, CT, Columbia, MD, and Downingtown, PA, drove to a parking lot in the 1000 block of Arch street. The trio were standing outside the Tango Club at 1021 Arch Street, when they were accosted by two black males who climbed out of a black SUV.
The robbers wore face masks and were armed with semiautomatic firearms. They escaped with wallets, credit cards, debit cards, a Maryland driver’s license, cell phones and an $800 Bulova watch.
At 1:15 p.m. on Dec. 7th, a 45 year-old West Philadelphia man was walking northbound on the 200 block of Mozart Place. A silver vehicle traveling southbound pulled up along side of him. Two males got out and pointed handguns at him. They demanded his belongings, and took his Rolex Skydweller blue dial watch valued at $30,000, along with the man’s wallet and credit cards.
The assailants were last seen heading south on Mozart Place.
At 11:45 p.m. on Dec. 11, a 34-year-old South Philadelphia man who was attending his own wedding reception in Old City went outside to get some air. He was heading toward the National Mechanics Restaurant on 22 S. Third Street when a couple of robbers pulled up in a dark colored SUV, flashed black handguns and demanded his watch. The groom handed over a silver Rolex Submariner watch.
At 11:20 p.m. on Dec. 7th, a 33-year-old West Philadelphia woman and a 27 year-old woman from
the Queens section of New York City parked their car at 19th Street and Fairmount Avenue.
The two women were taking a break from sightseeing in the area when a man came up to the driver door and demanded that they get out of the car. A second man brandished a black handgun, stuck it in the stomach of the New York tourist and demanded her purse. The robbers left with a New York state ID and her debit card.
At 1:24 a.m. on Dec. 12th, a 24-year-old woman from New York City was walking to her friend’s house in the 200 block of S. 25th St.
The woman walked around the park at Rittenhouse Square park and then began walking on the 2000 block of Loust Street. As she reached the Carlyle Apartment building a light-colored sedan pulled up as if the driver was going to park.
Instead, two black males exited the vehicle one of whom was armed with a semi-automatic handgun equipped with a silencer.
The robbers left with a two tone, gold, silver and white pear face Michelle watch valued at $1,200 and a gray Yves St. Laurent purse valued at $2,000, along with the victim’s wallet and bank cards.
The robbers were last seen running east on Locust Street.
After he made his idiotic statements last week, Krasner issued a half-assed apology where he of course blamed the news media for making him a national embarrassment.
“I know that some inarticulate things I said earlier this week have offended people,” Krasner began. “The message conveyed through media sound bites is not at all what I meant. Complete answers based on data aimed at solutions to gun violence will be edited down to sound bites. It’s my job to make sure even those sound bites are careful. As someone whose strong support is owed in part to the fact that I don’t communicate or make decisions like a career politician, it is my obligation to do better.”
At a press conference today, using a black church as a backdrop, Krasner had a parade of black supporters show up to defend him after his gaffe, including Movita Johnson-Harrell.
The former state representative is still on probation after she pleaded guilty to theft for stealing more than $500,000 from a nonprofit that she established to help people struggling with mental illness, addiction and homelessness.
But Johnson-Harrell, who has lost two sons to gun violence, stated that she still wholeheartedly supports Krasner because he shares her vision for criminal justice reform.
“It takes a man of integrity to be able to rectify your mistakes,” the Rev. Jeanette Davis said. “We have a gun violence crisis in Philadelphia. We don’t have time to sit and ponder over some words that were misspoken.”
“The words were hurtful,” conceded the Rev. Mark Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church, but he said that Krasner’s actions speak louder than his words.
After all the testimonials, and more than an hour into the press conference, the D.A. finally opened it up to questions from the media.
A reporter twice asked Krasner that based on his remarks of the previous week, where he was inviting tourists to town, despite the record gun violence, “Are the streets of Philadelphia safe?”
And twice, Krasner refused to answer the question.