Police dragnet for SW Phila. robbers

September 24, 2009 9:09:36 PM PDT
Southwest Philadelphia is seeing more than its share of robberies this week. The latest robbery took place at the Dunkin Donuts on the 5500 block of Chestnut Street Thursday afternoon. Police say the thief in a Phillies baseball cap walked in and asked to use the bathroom. Surveillance video shows what happened a few seconds later. The robber emerged from behind the counter with a gun and slammed a young female clerk against a counter to make sure she knew he was serious as he made his way to the register.

"And if he doesn't get what he wants, we have to presume that he's going to be willing to use that gun, which makes him very dangerous right now," Captain Ben Nash of the Philadelphia Police said.

Another camera captured the thief flashing the gun at the manager announcing the robbery, grabbing a cup of coffee from the manager's hand and ordering him to open the cash register. He then proceeded to help himself to all the cash.

The video shows a customer looked on from the drive-thru window as the gunman lifted the register tray to see if there was anything underneath. Another customer is then shown about to walk in and then changed her mind when she saw what was going on. Shortly, thereafter the robber slyly walked out the door as if nothing happened. Then the manager handed the customer waiting in the car a cup of coffee, despite the fact they've just been robbed.

"No shots were fired which is good, but we'd like to get this guy off the street before he hurts anybody," Nash said.

Police say he appears to be on a roll. Just two days earlier, they say he and another man held up the Family Dollar Store in the 4700 block of Girard Avenue. Police say a silver handgun was used and the description of the gunman was the same as in the Dunkin Donuts holdup.

"Generally speaking, the guys that do these robberies are generally from the area because they're familiar with the streets. So, they're going to be recognized by their neighbors, by their family," Nash said.

Unlike earlier this weekend, where a grocer was killed during a robbery in Southwest Philadelphia, no one was injured, although employees at both businesses and, in particular, at the Dunkin Donuts were left shaken.

"This is a popular business that serves the community and, let's face it, when people come in and do this sort of thing, places go out of business," Nash said.

Police seem fairly confident the perpetrators are from the neighborhood and they're hoping someone recognizes the gunman in the surveillance video. They're asking anyone who thinks they may know who he is to contact Southwest Detectives before someone gets hurt.


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