Serial robber targets Phila. apartment garage

January 17, 2012 8:45:40 PM PST
A serial bandit is on the loose and he's making it a habit of targeting a residential apartment garage at Broad Street and Washington Avenue.

Surveillance video shows the suspect entering the Marine Club Condominiums through an open garage door. Inside he lurks, avoiding detection.

Police say he then attacks and robs unsuspecting women as they park their cars.

"He grabs his victim around the neck. He steals laptops, cell phones and US currency from them," Captain Larry Nodiff of the Philadelphia Police Department said.

Investigators say in one of the three robberies, the suspect used a knife.

"One of the victims very smartly started to blow her car horn which scared him away," Nodiff said.

Police say the first incident happened on September 26th at 9:00 p.m. A woman was exiting her vehicle on the third floor parking garage. An unknown male approached the victim and forced her into the vehicle demanding money. While the victim was inside the vehicle, she was able to fight off the suspect. Unable to take money from the victim, the suspect fled on foot to the second floor of the parking garage.

Police say on December 11th at 10:55 p.m., another victim parked inside the garage. The victim was approached from behind by an unknown male armed with a knife demanding money. The victim handed the offender a laptop and $60. The suspect fled on foot down the stairwell and exited the building on 15th Street.

Police say on January 12th at 6:55 p.m., the victim parked on the second floor of the parking garage. As the victim exited the vehicle, she was approached by an unknown male who pushed her back into the vehicle and demanded money. The suspect took $100 from the victim and then fled on foot from the parking garage.

The suspect is described as a black male, 40-50 years of age, dark complexion, wearing a dark shirt (unknown logo), dark pants, and gloves.

During the September 26th incident the suspect was clean shaven. During the January 12th incident the male had a (salt/pepper) beard.

Many residents learned of the string of robberies today when management sent out an email.

"I was shocked. I didn't believe it would happen. You'd think it would be safer in the garage than out on the street," resident Christina Scott said.

The residents question why management didn't alert them after the first attack in September.

The condominium now has a guard at the garage 24/7.

The security measure has provided some relief to residents, but others have decided to take their own steps by parking on the street and walking through the front door.

"Walking on the street and coming in the front feels more comfortable than parking in a garage which is upsetting," resident Rebecca Smith-Bashore said.

Management from the condominium did not return our calls for comment.

Police say people need to be aware of their surrounding when they park. If you feel uncomfortable or threatened, stay in your car, call 911 and wait for police to arrive.

To view the surveillance video: Visit The Philadelphia Police YouTube Channel or visit

To submit a tip via telephone, dial 215.686.TIPS (8477).

Use this electronic form to submit a tip anonymously.