Phila. police probing robberies targeting elderly

Detectives are investigating robberies of elderly victims targeted after withdrawing large amounts of money from banks in neighborhoods stretching from Fishtown to Northeast Philadelphia.

Eight of 11 cases that police believe are related involved victims who were robbed after they left a bank and were on their way home or had arrived at home and were accosted, authorities said Thursday.

The first robbery occurred April 24 and the most recent Aug. 13, police said. The victims were mainly elderly, including a 96-year-old.

At least one man is seen in surveillance videos waiting outside the banks until a likely victim shows up. He then follows the person in and observes whether he or she withdraws a large sum. If so, he follows the person home, either by car or public transportation.

While the victims are going home or when they arrive there, the man grabs the money, sometimes punching the victims and knocking them to the ground. In one case, he used pepper spray or Mace.

Four surveillance videos show the man driving a silver Chevrolet Malibu.

The robber is generally described as a black man about 45 to 50 years of age, about 6 feet tall with a heavy build, with a gray beard and a gray patch of hair on top of his head. In one video, he is seen talking to another man wearing a blue Superman T-shirt.

The victims were targeted at the following banks: PNC Bank at 2200 Cottman Ave. twice; TD Bank, also at 2200 Cottman Ave.; Wells Fargo Bank branches at Frankford and Girard Avenues, 3400 Aramingo Ave., and 6420 Frankford Ave.; Citizens Bank at 6271 Frankford Ave.; and PNC Bank at 6705 Rising Sun Ave.

Detectives said the banks have been alerted.

The surveillance videos showing the suspect and the car are online for public viewing on the Philadelphia Police Department's YouTube channel at

Anyone with information on the man in the videos can call 215-686-TIPS or text a tip to PPDTIP (773847).