For years, critics have said that Philadelphia's court system does a lousy job of getting convicts to pay restitution for victims of crimes. In the story below, read about how five victims have discovered just how true that can be — even when city workers were the perpetrators.
And listen to the story on WHYY here.
Nine city workers who were supposed to be cleaning up neighborhoods instead ransacked homes in Northeast Philadelphia between 2006 and 2008, stealing cash, guns, family heirlooms, furniture and TVs while on the job. Last year they pleaded guilty to the crime.
A grand-jury report said the former workers, who were assigned to the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), "used their jobs as a license to steal the entire contents of houses" and were "abetted by a total lack of oversight." Many were tossed in jail.
But this tale is far from over. Common Pleas Judge Sandy Byrd ordered the convicts to pay more than $108,000 in restitution to five victims of their crime spree. So far, they’ve paid only about a quarter of that, and the victims are furious.