Sunday, February 7, 2016

POSTED: Thursday, September 17, 2015, 9:57 PM
Janet Powell Dailey is accused of illegally storing three bodies inside a garage she owns in North Philly. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ/Staff Photographer)

The state Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs has filed formal disciplinary action against three funeral directors embroiled in scandals last month.

Janet Powell Dailey, John M. Price and Blair Hawkins were each served with the orders Thursday, to which they have 30 days to respond or face punitive measures without a hearing, including the revocation of their professional licenses.

A spokeswoman for the Department of State said the filings represent a more serious step than the injunctions filed Wednesday against the three funeral directors. Yesterday’s legal action expedites the state’s review of the allegations against the trio.

Vinny Vella @ 9:57 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Thursday, September 17, 2015, 2:29 PM

Let's hope this isn't the way we treat the actual pope when he comes to town next week.

The good people over at Pop-Up Pope, who've been drumming up excitement about Pope Francis' visit for months using a life-size cardboard cutout of the holy man they take around town, told me about a disturbing incident they experienced at LOVE Park yesterday.

While Christa Scalies was holding the papal cutout up and talking to Philly Jesus, who calls LOVE Park his home base, a young skateboarder came out of nowhere and tackled the Pop-Up Pope to the ground. Then he laughed about.

Stephanie Farr @ 2:29 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 2:31 PM
Shazim Uppal (left) and Benjamin Rauf.

Police arrested a New York man in last month's murder in Delaware of a Temple University law graduate.

Shazim Uppal, 27, of Hockessin, Del., was found dead about 7 p.m. Aug. 24  in a car, which was parked in a Hockessin nursing home parking lot near his home. Genesis Healthcare workers told police the car, Uppal's black Audi sedan, had been there since the previous day. At the time, New Castle County police said they'd found a “substantial amount” of marijuana inside and believed the murder was not random.

Today, police said they arrested Benjamin Rauf, 25, of Westerlo, N.Y., saying that Rauf shot Uppal several times in the chest during a suspected robbery and drug deal. The men knew each other from Temple University, where both were graduates of the James E. Beasley School of Law.

Dana DiFilippo @ 2:31 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 1:30 PM

The death of a 21-year-old Temple University student last month has been ruled a homicide, police said today.

Agatha Hall, of Park Avenue near Dauphin in Hartranft, was shot in the head in her bedroom sometime before 1 a.m. Aug. 31. Police initially reported that Hall's death was a suicide partly because they found a 9mm handgun underneath her body, police said. But the city Medical Examiner's Office ruled last Thursday that "it was impossible for the victim's gunshot wound to be self-inflicted," due to the location of the gunshot on the top left side of her forehead, police said. The death was then ruled a homicide, police said.

Today, police arrested her boyfriend Brandon Meade, 29, of Stockley Avenue near Crosley in Upper Darby, and charged him with murder. He is being held without bail. Police say an argument sparked the deadly gunfire. 

Dana DiFilippo @ 1:30 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 3:03 PM
Benjamin Twiggs

A North Philadelphia man has been indicted for allegedly defrauding a federal program that donates federal agencies’ unused computer equipment to schools and educational nonprofits.

Benjamin Twiggs, 37, of Seltzer Street near 25th, was charged Monday with making a false statement and transportation of goods taken by fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. Twiggs in 2013 filed phony paperwork with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that he represented an IRS-recognized tax-exempt organization, the Philadelphia Urban Technology Institute, according to the indictment. But that institute is not a tax-exempt nonprofit. He then allegedly took 96 computer monitors in January from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which had donated them through the federal Computers For Learning program, according to the indictment.

If convicted, Twiggs faces up to 15 years in prison, three years of probation and a $500,000 fine.

Dana DiFilippo @ 3:03 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 11:06 AM

Police are seeking suspects after a man was gunned down last night in the Devil's Pocket neighborhood.

Someone shot Karon A. Payne Smith, 21, of Carpenter Street near 24th, several times on Montrose Street near 23rd about 11:15 p.m, police said. He died just over an hour later at Penn-Presbyterian Hospital, police said. 

Investigators say an argument prompted the gunfire but reported no suspects. Tipsters, call homicide detectives at (215) 686-3334 or -3335. There is a $20,000 reward for information in all homicide investigations that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Dana DiFilippo @ 11:06 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 10:52 AM
Harold Wilson, exonerated in a 1988 triple murder

Death-penalty foes will gather at a Germantown church tomorrow for a prayer vigil, during which they will pray for an end to capital punishment.

The vigil will be at noon at St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, 400 E. Price St. It is free and open to the public. Harold Wilson, a Philadelphia man exonerated in 2005 in a 1988 triple murder, will speak at the vigil about holding onto hope while living on death row.

Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penality, Witness to Innocence, various clergy and other activists organized the event to coincide with tomorrow's scheduled execution in Oklahoma of Richard Glossip, who was convicted in the 1997 murder of an Oklahoma City motel owner. Sister Helen Prejean, a noted anti-death-penalty crusader, has championed his case as a wrongful conviction.

Dana DiFilippo @ 10:52 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Sunday, September 13, 2015, 4:35 PM
Starbucks at 1301 Chestnut Street. (Google Maps)

Starbucks is drawing some Internet outrage after a Philadelphia police sergeant went on Facebook and lashed out against a "young blonde liberal" who he said wouldn't let him use the restroom last week at the coffee chain's 1301 Chestnut Street location.

The sergeant is not named in the original post, which was posted Friday on Starbucks' Facebook page by fellow Philadelphia Police Officer Joe Leighthardt. It has since been shared more than 11,500 times. Leighthardt said he knows the sergeant.

The unnamed sergeant said he was in full uniform and that the employee would not give him the key code to the bathroom because he was not a paying customer.

William Bender @ 4:35 PM  Permalink |
About this blog

Philly Confidential, which covers crime in Philadelphia and the suburbs, is written by Daily News staffers Dana DiFilippo, Stephanie Farr and Vinny Vella.

E-mail tips to DiFilippo at and follow her on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Farr at and follow her on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Vella at and follow him on Twitter here.

The Philly Confidential team
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