Sunday, July 13, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Do You Know This Awful Man?

Check out this artist's sketch of the scam artist who stole the cremated remains of a grieving widower's wife.

Do You Know This Awful Man?

Wanna give a grieving widower some peace? Take a good look at the man depicted in this composite sketch. And if you have any clue to his identity, please call the Northeast Detective Division at 215-686-3153 or dial 9-1-1.

Because this low-life has got to be put behind bars.

Last month, posing as a city worker, he talked his way into the Bustleon home of John Mogck, 71. While he distracted Mogck, his accomplices entered the house on Walley Ave. and made off with a safe that held all of Mogck's valuables - including his deceased wife's ashes.

John and Rita Mogck had been married 48 years. He had promised her, before she succumbed to ovarian cancer in November, that he would bury her ashes in her native Germany. He's devastated that he can't fufill her dying wish.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column about Mogck's plight, which brought it to the attention of State Trooper Kelly Pearson. He investigates scams perpetrated against the elderly and trains local law-enforcement agencies about how to investigate the crimes.

Pearson sent a sketch artist to meet with Mogck, and this is the resulting drawing of the thief who has flipped Mogck's life upside down. Police believe the man was involved in a similar burglary in Lower Moreland.

The man is described as about 5 feet 7 inches with a stocky build.The day of the burlgary, he was wearing a knit cap and three-quarter-length black coat. He has a small scar over his lip and speaks with a slight, Hispanic-sounding accent.  And, in case you were wondering, he has no heart.

Mogck's niece is offering a sizeable reward for the ashes' return. If you know anything at all about their whereabouts, or about the man depicted here, please call the police. Mogck is grieving terribly, and his wife's ashes deserve the loving burial he had planned for them.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected