Police: Teens attacked for cell phones in Olney

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Philadelphia police are warning teenagers after three recent incidents in which victims were attacked and robbed of their cell phones. (WPVI)

Philadelphia police are warning teenagers after three recent incidents in which victims were attacked and robbed of their cell phones.

The three attacks happened on the streets of Olney at the end of last week. Police say the male victims, all in their early teens, were on the way home from school - sometimes in the evening.

"Several large groups of juveniles jumped solo juveniles and stole their cell phones from them," Capt. John Ryan.

The first happened on May 18th at American Street and Chew at 4:10 p.m. The victim was on the way home from school when he was surrounded by as many as 15 juveniles- some as young as 12 years old. They punched him in the face, grabbed his iPhone out of his pocket, and ran off.

At 6:45 p.m. there was another attack, this time in the 100 block of West Olney Avenue. The victim was on the way home from school when he was punched in the face. A suspect grabbed his Samsung phone and fled. More young men joined in, and one threw a rock at his face while others knocked him to the ground and started kicking him.

The next day, a third victim was attacked for his cell phone in the 5000 block of North 3rd Street at 6:50 pm. That victim was approached by a attackers who punched him in the face and took off with his Samsung phone.

"Currrently is everyone's walking around with $500 phone on them, essentially, and that's motivating a lot of these robberies," said Ryan.

Parents picking up their kids in that area blamed poor parental supervision, and too much time on the hands of young people in the neighborhood.

"I didn't experience those kinds of things because I stayed on my kids. I didn't let the streets take them. I refused to. I am a parent," said Gelena Russell.

"When I was coming up, we had programs such as basketball leagues, football, baseball. Now, it's slim-pickings and it's not easy to find those," said Qasin Edwards.

The attackers face serious charges including assault and robbery if they are caught.
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