Punks nabbed with hand in the wrong jar

Suspected young thieves get a ride in a police car after cash intended for families of cops and firefighters was pilfered. Joseph Kaczmarek / For the Daily News
Suspected young thieves get a ride in a police car after cash intended for families of cops and firefighters was pilfered. Joseph Kaczmarek / For the Daily News
Posted: July 17, 2012

No day is a good day to steal from a Police Survivors Fund donation jar in Philadelphia, but on Sunday a group of four young punks allegedly made the decision to do just that at the worst possible time: Two days after the funeral of a fallen officer

An employee of the Auntie Anne's pretzel shop, on South Street near 4th, said that he caught the four teens taking wads of cash from the donation jar clearly marked as money to support police and firefighters shortly after 7 p.m. He called police.

"As soon as I saw what was happening, I said, ‘Everybody out,' " the employee, who asked that his name be withheld, said. "We caught them on camera." Police pulled the surveillance video from inside the store and got a good look at the two teen girls and two teen boys stealing from the jar, said Sgt. Paul Sprigg, of the South Street Mini Station.

"We have foot beats on the block and the officers ran right in and looked at the video and got a good description," Sprigg said.

Minutes later, cops stopped the four a few blocks away, at 8th and South streets, and arrested them. Police said that the Auntie Anne's employee positively identified the suspected thieves. Two are 12 and 13 years old, the others are both 14.

Sprigg said the kids made off with $24.40 from the Police Survivors Fund donation jar and that cops later discovered that they had also shoplifted costume jewelry and clothing from two other stores on South Street. Charges were pending Sunday night. n

Contact Morgan Zalot at 215-854-5928 or zalotm@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @morganzalot. Read her blog PhillyConfidential.com.

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