Home invasions near Temple University

November 14, 2008 8:50:43 PM PST
Police are investigating a rash of home invasions targeting college students in North Philadelphia, and lawmen are hunting for two suspects.There have been 16 victims so far, all of them Temple students living near the University.

The home invasions are happening in an area between 18th & 20th and Montgomery to Norris Streets.

A number of Temple University students living in that area still had no idea what was happening until we told them.

"I'm already nervous living out here but now I'm especially nervous, definitely," said Temple junior Sherol Wilshire.

Police say the assailants are two black males dressed in hooded sweatshirts and bandanas, armed with handguns.

"They're rushing in, they're telling everyone to get into one room. They're asking 'where's, the stuff, where's the money, where are the laptops.' They leave one person in the room, while the other person searches for the items," said Capt. Sharon Seaborough of the Philadelphia police..

So far, 16 students have been robbed of cash, laptops and other valuables including ATM cards.

Police released surveillance photo of a person of interest using one of the victims ATM cards to withdraw cash. Investigators say all of the invasions, strangely enough, have been happening not in the dark of night, but in the middle of the day between 11a.m. and 2p.m.

With Temple's enrollment increasing, the University has been moving further and further into crime-plagued neighborhoods in North Philadelphia in an effort to provide off-campus housing.

"Temple's all over here so, they're gonna be victimized like everybody else in the neighborhood," said block captain Terry White. "Temple doesn't have any security around here so they've got do that, if they're going to live around here, they've got to have somebody around here."

Temple Senior Curtis Dailey and his college roomate Dennis Wang learned that early on. They were robbed just after they moved in.

We asked them what the thieves took.

"Basically everything, like computers, TVs, video games systems," Dailey said.

Philadelphia police are helping Temple beef-up security in targeted areas, but investigators still worry.

"I'm definitely concerned that this could get worse, especially if the kids start resisting," said Capt. Seaborough.

Temple junior Mitchell Moodie says, if targeted, he won't resist.

"They can take it, I mean there's not much I can do at that point, I mean they come, I'm not going to fight them," Moodie said.

Authorities warned students to know who's at the door before they open it.

"Look out the peephole. If you don't recognize the person, don't open the door. If you're feeling leery about who's at the door, call the police so we can get there as quickly as we can," said Capt. Seaborough.

Police are asking anyone who may recognize the person in the surveillance photo or otherwise knows who the assailants are to call police right away.

You can get the latest crime statistics from the Philadelphia Police by CLICKING HERE for the force's crime data mapping site.


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