Pre-dawn raids target deadbeat parents, others in Philadelphia, surrounding counties (PHOTOS)

Watch report from Action News
April 11, 2014 6:57:29 PM PDT
More than a dozen people are behind bars following a series of pre-dawn raids targeting deadbeat parents, fugitives and others in Philadelphia.

Dubbed "Operation Sunrise," the coordinated series of warrant sweeps began at 2:00 a.m. Friday and wrapped up several hours later.

They were conducted by the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County along with officers from the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania State Police and the Sheriff Departments of Chester, Bucks, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties.

Action News was there as at least 15 people were led from police vehicles into holding cells at Philadelphia Family Court.

"We basically effected warrants for individuals wanted for domestic violence, robbery, manufacturing, and all types of drug charges," said Lt. Vernon Muse, Fugitive Warrant Unit.

Those taken into custody face charges ranging from attempted murder, drug dealing and child molestation to failure to pay child support.

"There was some resistance, but as you can see, the men and women power that you see here, I think that there is more of us than the bad guys," said Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams.

Officials say these raids send the message that while fugitives might be out of sight, they most certainly are not out of mind.

The prisoners were temporarily held in Philadelphia before being transferred over to the city or town that has a warrant out for their arrest.

"Philadelphia is a highly dense area, so it is a good place to hide out for individuals; that is until we catch up with them," said Lt. Muse.

The annual sweep normally happens around Valentine's Day, but bad weather pushed it back this year.

According to the Sheriff's Office this is the 17th year in a row such a joint operation has been undertaken in Philadelphia.

The officers say their work isn't done.

"Over 6000 outstanding warrants still out there. We on a daily basis are out there looking for those warrants," said Sheriff Williams.


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