More suspects to be charged in ransacking of Philadelphia stores, district attorney says

Prosecutors in Philadelphia say Monday that more suspects will be charged with smashing into stores last week as law enforcement officials review video of the social-media fueled mayhem

Via AP news wire
Monday 02 October 2023 18:32 BST
Philadelphia Store Thefts
Philadelphia Store Thefts

Additional suspects will be charged with smashing into stores in Philadelphia last week as law enforcement officials review video of the social-media fueled mayhem, prosecutors said Monday.

More than 70 people already face a range of charges, such as burglary, conspiracy and riot, in the flash mob-style break-ins Tuesday night at dozens of stores including Foot Locker, Lululemon and Apple. All but six of the defendants are adults.

“There was a lot of video from that first evening and evenings that went after that, so we continue to work with (police) on reviewing affidavits, with reviewing evidence that they submit to us,” Assistant District Attorney Clint Orem said at a news conference Monday. "We expect more of those individuals to be charged in the coming days."

Before the smash-and-grab thefts, a group of protesters — who officials say had no connection to the burglary suspects — peacefully rallied against a judge’s decision to dismiss murder and other charges against a Philadelphia police officer who shot and killed a driver, Eddie Irizarry, through a rolled-up window. The protesters were marching in support of Irizarry’s family. Prosecutors are seeking to have the charges reinstated against the fired officer, Mark Dial.

The thefts and unrest left smashed display windows and broken storefront coverings. Video on social media showed masked people in hoodies running out of Lululemon with merchandise and police officers grabbing several and tackling them to the sidewalk.

Pharmacies, a hair salon, a cellphone store, and and state-run liquor outlets were among the other businesses targeted in several parts of the city, with suspects using social media to organize. One woman with hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok and Instagram, who livestreamed some of the rioting, is among those charged, and authorities said they are looking for additional ringleaders.

“We are very, very interested in bringing justice to people who view it as their task to encourage others to join them in breaking the law,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said Monday.

Most of the ransacking took place on the night that charges against Dial were dismissed, although six arrests were made the following night.

Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal rebuked people who took part in what Krasner called “opportunistic crime.”

“The thieves weren’t walking with the family in support,” Bilal said. “Rather, they were too busy stealing."

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