Archive: April, 2009
A pair of gutless punks saw fit to steal thousands of dollars today from two breast-cancer survivors who were raising funds for other cancer patients.
The theft occurred about 1:45 p.m. inside the Shops at Liberty Place, where the two volunteers were manning a table for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, said Detective Anthony Anderson, of Central Detectives.
Surveillance footage shows the cold-hearted crooks loitering close to the table, which was set up just beyond the doors of the entrance at 16th and Chestnut streets, Anderson said.
One man then held open a door while his cohort walked over to the table and grabbed a box holding the $3,800 in donations the women had collected throughout the day. Both fled on foot, Anderson said.
The surveillance tapes don’t show clear images of the crooks’ faces, but both appear to be black men in their late 20s, he said.
One wore a gray hoodie and blue jeans, while the other wore a dark zippered jacket and dark pants. Anderson said tipsters can call 215-686-3093.
News of the theft shocked Komen officials, said Elaine Grobman, the executive director of the Philadelphia affiliate of Komen for the Cure.
“My first thought was, ‘Are the volunteers OK?’ These women have families and are breast-cancer survivors,” Grobman said.
“Then you get really angry. The loss of that money affects thousands of women who can have mammographies and treatment.”
The volunteers were also registering people for the May 10 Race for the Cure. Grobman said that registration drives will be held Saturday at various Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware.
I figured I would shake things up a bit here tonight and throw some positive stories at you guys. First up is a Frankford veterans' home that will get a heart-warming makeover:
A ruckus will be raised on a tiny block in Frankford in the not-too-distant future when the home-improvement wizards from HGTV come to town.
Their mission: To give a much-needed makeover to a rickety rowhouse on Romain Street near Womrath that provides transitional shelter to military veterans.
The three-bedroom property, known by vets simply as the Romain House, was one of two veterans’ group homes that won a national vote last month for HGTV’s “Change the World. Start at Home” community-revitalization campaign.
HGTV will pour about $40,000 worth of renovations and improvements into the Romain House and a veterans’ home in St. Louis, Mo., the network said.
Veterans stay at the Romain House for about a year while they get their lives in order, then move on to permanent housing, said John Tomosky, the American Legion’s 1st District commander. (The house is run by the Legion’s Housing for Homeless Corp.)
“It’s nice when people step up for veterans and their community. That house definitely needs a makeover,” Tomosky said.
The Philly makeover, which will include a new kitchen, bathroom and energy-efficiency upgrades, will be filmed in late June and air on HGTV in October, said HGTV host Carter Oosterhouse.
“We’ll give the house the touches it needs to be more functional, but also more inviting,” Oosterhouse said.
And then there's short tale of Philly cop who's doing big things -- in the military:
A 14-year-old girl was found unconscious in just her bra and panties in Fairmount Park last night. Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives said a jogger found the girl in the park, on Martin Luther King Drive near Falls Bridge, at about 9 p.m. The driver flagged down a motorist, who called 9-1-1. Walker said the girl was unresponsive until medics arrived. She briefly regained consciousness and complained of a headache. The girl was listed in stable condition in Temple University Hospital, where doctors were trying to determine if she had been sexually assaulted. Walker said some clothing had been found in the park, but it was unclear if it belonged to the teen.
Update: Police investigators said earlier today that they have thus far found no evidence to suggest the teen was raped or assaulted and are now pursuing the case as a "medical investigation." Police officials said parents of the teen weren't allowing investigators to interview the girl earlier today, meaning detectives now have to wait on toxicology tests to try and learn more about what happened in Fairmount Park.
As many of you are aware, Daily News reporters Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman have been reporting up a storm since February on misconduct allegations leveled at members of the Narcotics Field Unit. Their work apparently led to some internal moves in the Police Department:
Two Philadelphia police narcotics field unit squads — including one at the center of an ongoing federal and local probe — have been folded into other narcotics units.
Deputy Commissioner William Blackburn yesterday described the move as a “reshuffling of the deck” that will allow for better supervision of the officers.
The consolidation plan, approved by Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, came after a series of Daily News articles exposed numerous accusations of illegal behavior by Narcotics Officer Jeffrey Cujdik and other cops.
“Narcotics is one of those units that requires a small span of control because they deal with search-and-seizure warrants, confidential informants and other high-risk situations,” Blackburn said. “In light of the articles and the scrutiny the Narcotics Bureau is under, we felt this was necessary.”
Cujdik and nine other officers who worked in Squad 9, and five officers from a different team, are remaining narcotics squads.
“It’s not out of the norm for us to rotate people into different units,” Blackburn said. “This is more about them having a higher level of supervision.”
Each of the 10 squads will have at least a sergeant supervising operations, he said.
In a 2002 report that examined police enforcement of drug laws and made recommendations for preventing systemic abuse, Ellen Green-Ceisler, then director of the Police Integrity and Accountability Office, concluded that narcotics officers and supervisors should be regularly rotated.
Green-Ceisler, now a judge, found that police departments across the country require rotations to keep officers honest.
Cujdik, a 12-year veteran, is at the center of an expanding federal and local probe into allegations that he lied on search-warrant applications to gain access to suspected drug homes and that he became too close with his informants. He rented a house to one and allegedly provided bail money to another.