Friday, October 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Sunday, October 26, 2014, 8:50 PM

Nearly three dozen dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles -- plus an illegal gun found on one of the bikes' riders -- were off the streets of Philadelphia Sunday night after a daylong citywide sting aimed at confiscating the illegal vehicles.

By 7 p.m., 34 dirt bikes and ATVs had been confiscated throughout the city -- part of a regular initiative run by Chief Inspector Dennis Wilson, who oversees the city's Regional Operations Command, specially detailed district officers and the Major Crimes Unit to get the bikes and four-wheelers off the city's streets.

"Today's operation was really successful. We're still at it," Wilson said at the Major Crimes Auto Squad headquarters, at Whitaker Avenue and Macalester Street in Juniata Park.

Morgan Zalot @ 8:50 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Friday, October 24, 2014, 4:31 PM
Tyheem Melton

After evading capture in a brutal double-homicide investigation for two years, Tyheem Melton was foiled by a speeding ticket in rural Tennessee.

Melton, 39, is being held in Cleveland, Tenn., and will be extradited to Philly in the coming days, according to Ed Ramsey, a spokesman for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office.

Late Monday, an officer from the sheriff's office pulled over Melton as he was speeding down Interstate 75 in a rental car, said Ramsey.

Vinny Vella @ 4:31 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 9:30 PM

Gunfire from an assault rifle cut through the air of a quiet street in Bustleton Thursday night, the result of what a police source said was a domestic dispute.

Just after 7:30 p.m., officers responding to several calls for shots fired found a 57-year-old man collapsed outside a home on Alton Street near Surrey Road, a residential block where such violence is virtually unheard of.

He had been shot in his abdomen and arm, and was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center, where he remains in critical condition, said Chief Inspector Scott Small.

Vinny Vella @ 9:30 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:14 PM

A SEPTA Transit Police officer was injured this afternoon, cold-cocked by a punk while he tried to break up a fight between a group of West Philadelphia High School students.

Just before 3:30 p.m., the officer, a 24-year veteran of the force and the department's school-liaison officer, saw a group of teenage girls get into a scuffle while on patrol near the Market-Frankford El stop at 46th and Market streets, said Andrew Busch, a SEPTA spokesperson.

When the officer went to separate the girls, a teenage boy snuck up behind him and "sucker-punched" him in the right side of his head, said Busch.

Vinny Vella @ 6:14 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 3:57 PM

A man shot in the parking lot of a Northeast Philadelphia supermarket after he allegedly threatened another man and his girlfriend with a 13-inch hunting knife has been charged with a slew of offenses related to the attack.

Dondi DeCosta, 37, was charged Thursday with aggravated assault, possession of an instrument of crime, terroristic threats and related offenses. A judge set his bail at $75,000.

DeCosta is accused of approaching 38-year-old William Lawler, an Army veteran and firearms instructor, and his girlfriend outside the Pathmark store on Frankford Avenue near Megargee Street the afternoon of Oct. 12. DeCosta, Lawler told the Daily News in an interview after the incident, approached him and his girlfriend wielding the knife and threatened, "I'll cut you up." After several attempts to calm the situation, Lawler said, he was forced to use his 9mm Glock -- which he was legally carrying -- to shoot DeCosta in self-defense.

Morgan Zalot @ 3:57 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 10:21 PM

A 34-year-old man who lives above a barbershop in Feltonville tried to chase down two robbers who hit the business, and caught a bullet for his trouble, police said.

Just before 8:30 p.m., two gunmen forced their way into the Los Muchachos Barbershop on St. Paul Street near 5th and announced a hold up, said Chief Inspector Scott Small.

The punks robbed three barbers and one of their customers of $800 and prepared to make a hasty retreat when the man who lives in an apartment above the shop walked downstairs and stumbled upon the scene, Small said.

Vinny Vella @ 10:21 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 3:20 PM

A 47-year-old man has been arrested in a 2012 homicide in which firefighters found the body of a man inside a burning building in Kensington, police said Wednesday.

James Clark was arrested on Tuesday and charged with murder, arson, causing catastrophe, possession of an instrument of crime and related offenses, court records showed. Police said Clark confessed to detectives that he set a fire in a second-floor apartment on Madison Street near Emerald in Kensington around 9 p.m. Dec. 28, 2012.

When firefighters extinguished the blaze, police said, they found the victim, 51-year-old Yuri Moskovkina, dead in the bathroom inside his second-floor apartment. A police spokeswoman on Wednesday said no motive was listed on police paperwork. It was unclear exactly how Moskovkina was killed.

Morgan Zalot @ 3:20 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 3:00 PM

Two violent car crashes on this rainy Wednesday morning claimed the lives of two people and left two others badly injured, police said.

In the first accident, in the city's Overbrook section, 43-year-old Christopher French, of French Street near 17th in North Philadelphia, was driving a 2000 Cadillac Deville south on City Avenue near 59th Street about 4:20 a.m., according to police. French somehow lost control of the car and crossed into the northbound lanes, crashing into a tree and a lightpole, a police spokeswoman said. The impact of the crash caused the man's car to break apart, and he was thrown from the vehicle, the spokeswoman said. French was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was pronounced dead at 6:28 a.m.

In the second crash, on Martin Luther King Drive near the Girard Avenue overpass, police said a woman driving a 2009 Toyota SUV southbound lost control about 9 a.m. and veered into the northbound lanes, crashing head-on into a 2005 Toyota RAV4 carrying a 34-year-old man, who was driving, and his wife. The woman who was driving the southbound vehicle, also 34, was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where police said she remained in critical condition later Wednesday with head injuries.

Morgan Zalot @ 3:00 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

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

E-mail tips to DiFilippo at difilid@phillynews.com and follow her on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Farr at farrs@phillynews.com and follow her on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Vella at vellav@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter here.

E-mail tips to Zalot at zalotm@phillynews.com and follow her on Twitter here.

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