Some let things get way out of hand

Police confront Phillies fan at Broad and Walnut streets, where there was some looting and fires.
Police confront Phillies fan at Broad and Walnut streets, where there was some looting and fires.
Posted: October 31, 2008

IT WAS 90 percent euphoria and 10 percent madness. That in itself is nothing short of a miracle.

Because we're talking Philly fans, the ones with a reputation as an unruly, obnoxious bunch of pot-bellied drunks who throw snowballs at Santa and chant, "You suck," at players they hate.

After the Phillies killed the curse and became world champs Wednesday night, thousands flooded the streets to bask in greatness.

Most fans would make Rocky proud. They hugged strangers, hollered to hoarseness, howled like children on roller-coasters and guzzled beer like college kids on their first weekend of freedom.

But some would have made William Penn scowl. Several cars, from Hondas to SUVs, were overturned.

An entire SEPTA bus shelter at Broad and Walnut was destroyed, the glass shattered and the metal mangled. Stop signs were ripped from their poles.

Trees and shrubs were toppled and revelers paraded up Broad Street with huge limbs and roots. Fires were set in trash bins and red P's were spray-painted all over the place.

"At a certain point, it wasn't about celebrating the Phillies anymore," said Tal Shtuhl, 19, who was in Center City and felt uneasy about the mayhem. "People were taking advantage of the situation and using it as an opportunity to do whatever they wanted to do.

"It's a shame," he said. "This would have been a good chance for the city to reverse some of its negative stereotypes, but instead we just enforced them."

Looters broke into Robinson Luggage at Broad and Walnut streets by shattering large windows and glass doors. Jim Sheil, general manager of the store, said he believes the fire at Broad and Sansom streets began when someone set a stolen suitcase ablaze.

Sheil was unsure of the cost of the damage and the merchandise stolen. "When it comes to this," he said, gesturing toward the broken windows, "It's gone too far."

Revelers said the dozens of cops on the street attempted to keep the crowds under control and did so without using excessive force. Seventy-six people were arrested, including 36 for disorderly conduct, 12 for assaulting police, 17 for vandalism, and three for theft, police said.

"There was a very small number of people engaged in activities that were not about celebration, but about destruction," Mayor Nutter said yesterday.

"We are actively and aggressively looking for individuals involved in the destruction; there were two officers injured as well."

Nutter said he does not have a cost on the damage, but said overall, it was minimal, and a sizeable number of the vandals appeared to be college students.

Two City Cab taxis were damaged and another was destroyed, said office manager Mohammad Shokrollh. The driver and customer were inside at the time.

The revolving doors of the FYE music store at Broad and Chestnut streets were shattered. One window was broken by someone who threw one of the many newspaper honor boxes that had been dragged from the pavement.

Planters around Center City were overturned, leaving huge mounds of dirt. At the Prince Music Theater, just off Broad and Chestnut, vandals attempted to uproot a statue of a man with an umbrella. It was left standing crooked with graffiti on the forehead. Someone climbed a pole and took down one of the fancy, lit Avenue of the Arts "A"s.

Albert Stumm, Daily News night city editor, was at work when he was told a Honda Civic had just been overturned outside the office at Broad and Callowhill streets. Rioters had rocked it until it flipped.

He thought it was a joke at first. "I rushed outside and saw a dozen people dancing on the undercarriage of my car," Stumm said. "Some people were cheering and saying 'That's awesome!' " A few offered him a beer to console him.

Stumm stood in shock. "It was very surreal to see people dancing on your car and . . . see people parade up the street holding shrubs they'd pulled from the ground."

A cop arrived, and the vandals, mostly college-aged kids, pounced on his empty cruiser and pushed it on its side, then fled. Stumm's 2001 Honda Civic is totaled, and you can watch his car getting flipped on YouTube. Just go to www.youtube.

com/watch?v=Mvsb-e-S3wg.

Allison Brummel, 29, of West Philadelphia, celebrated at the epicenter of bedlam - Broad and Sansom streets.

"I saw a bunch of guys pull down a tree," she said. "They were shaking it back and forth until it came down."

Peace-loving revelers yelled for them to stop. Others launched into Phillies cheers, hoping to diffuse the mix of beers and testosterone.

Center City District clean-up crews swept and power-washed the South Broad Street sidewalks yesterday morning, most wearing Phillies hats and appearing chipper despite the mess.

Now, time for the parade. *

Staff writer Damon Williams contributed to this report.

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