Police on the trail of 'Backpack Bandits'

DREXEL HILL, Pa. - December 14, 2011

Police say the so-called 'backpack bandits' would knock on the front door of homes, if no one answered, they would then make their way into the backyard and tried any way to get inside.

They'd look for small items. So far they have stolen $80,000 worth of cash, jewelry, and small electronics.

Drexel Hill resident Bob Ferry is concerned about the rash of break-ins in his neighborhood.

"It's something different for this neighborhood; this hasn't happened in this neighborhood," Ferry said.

Police are concerned, too. They have put on a full court press to catch the bandits.

Officers are patrolling neighborhoods in both marked and unmarked vehicles.

"It's cops 101, out there on the street, high visibility, stopping everybody, notifying the neighbors," Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

Chitwood says there've been 16 burglaries in Drexel Hill and Drexel Park within the past two months.

Police believe the bandits are using public transportation to get into the middle class neighborhood from other municipalities.

Last month, authorities charged Nakeem Coleman and Farji Warfield of North Philadelphia with two of the break-ins and suspect them of a third.

But the 'backpack bandits' may be responsible for the remaining jobs.

"I think we need more communication with our neighbors, we have to be more vigilant with what we do, how we secure the house," Frank Burke of Drexel Hill said.

A neighborhood meeting will be held Thursday night at Holy Child Academy.

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