Police seek suspect in smash-and-grabs targeting S. Philly eateries

Police have issued an arrest warrant for Devon Powell.

  • Powell is accused of robbing six restaurants by smashing through their front glass doors.
  • He has served jail time in 1997 and in 2005 for assault charges and burglary.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect in the smash-and-grab burglaries of six South Philadelphia restaurants.

Investigators said Devon Powell, 49, first struck shortly before 5:15 a.m. Jan. 12 at Hawthorne’s Cafe, located on South 11th Street near Fitzwater Street.

He’s also accused of on Feb. 1 burglarizing 19 Degrees Café, near 19th and Christian streets, and on Feb. 9 targeting Randazzo’s Pizza at 1826 South St.

Investigators said three of the crimes happened between 1:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Feb. 17. In less than seven hours, Powell allegedly burglarized Santucci’s Original Square Pizza near 10th and Christian streets, the Bainbridge Street Barrel House near Sixth and Bainbridge streets and Ulivo Restaurant at 521 Catharine St.

Powell, who investigators believe to be homeless, is known to throw bricks or rocks through businesses' front glass doors, according to police. Police said Powell is a possible substance abuser and has a history of escape and assault on police.

Powell also has outstanding warrants for commercial burglaries in Yeadon, investigators said.

According to court documents, Powell last year pleaded guilty in Delaware County to criminal mischief with the intent to damage property and to manufacturing, delivering or possessing controlled substances with the intent to manufacture or deliver. He was last April sentenced to 15 to 30 months in prison, followed by one year of probation. It’s unclear how much jail time, if any he actually served.

Powell also has a lengthy rap sheet in Philadelphia. He served jail time in 1997 and in 2005 after being convicted of assault charges and burglary, respectively.

Powell is described as a 5-foot-11-inch tall black male of about 170 pounds who wears prescription eyeglasses with gold frames. Police said he was last seen wearing a dark-colored hooded jacket, blue jeans and white high-top sneakers. He’s known to operate a dark-colored mountain bike.

Anyone with information on Powell’s whereabouts is asked to contact Det. Figueroa or Det. McKenna of the Special Investigations Unit at 215-686-3013 or 3014, or to submit an anonymous tip by dialing 215-686-TIPS (8477), texting PPD TIP (773847) or by filling out this online form.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or awigglesworth@philly.com. Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.