Philly Police commissioner: More arrests coming in post-Super Bowl vandalism

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Fan try to move a sidewalk planter on North Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia, Monday Feb. 5, 2018, following the Eagles win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. JOSEPH KACZMAREK FOR THE INQUIRER

Philadelphia Police arrested just four people Sunday night during the Eagles-related celebrations that erupted across the city after the team’s Super Bowl win.

That number is likely to grow.

Commissioner Richard Ross said Monday that police were reviewing surveillance video, social media, and other evidence and pledged to catch those revelers seen smashing windows, vandalizing property, or causing other destruction.

“These people are not off the hook,” he said in an interview. “When we find out who they are, we’re going to arrest them.”

The commissioner didn’t cite which acts police were investigating. Videos quickly spread Sunday night on Twitter, showing people looting a gas station and bringing down an awning at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. Windows were also smashed at the Macy’s on Market Street, and a number of traffic signals in Center City were brought to the ground.

Ross was among the officers in Center City after the game, where the majority of the crowd — which he estimated at 70,000 to 100,000 — had gathered to celebrate the city’s first Super Bowl victory. Most of the revelers celebrated peacefully, he said, but he was “frustrated” by the behavior of those who threw bottles, climbed poles, or damaged property.

Even he was hit in the head when someone in the crowd threw a bottle into the air, he said.

“I’m disappointed that some of these idiots … chose to live up to a reputation that is not deserved on the part of 98 percent of our fans,” Ross said.

Ross said the sheer number of people on and around Broad Street made it difficult for officers to quickly respond to problematic situations, and that some acts  — such as a car being flipped over on Walnut Street  —  occurred in areas where celebrators either outnumbered or did not see police.

“While [officers] are responding to one incident or two … that gets exploited because [celebrators] are gonna do that stuff where they see you aren’t,” the commissioner said.

Three of the four people arrested were charged with vandalism-related crimes, Ross said, and another was taken into custody for allegedly throwing a bottle at a police car.

He did not see who threw the bottle that hit him, and he said investigators were still reviewing videos to try to determine the identities of those who may face criminal charges for other mayhem.