Police: Suspected thief almost gets his hand cut off

Posted: July 20, 2014

A leader at a West Philadelphia mosque was arrested for allegedly trying to chop off the hand of a member accused of stealing money from prayer jars, police said Friday.

Merv Mitchell, 37, was arrested Thursday night when police executed a search warrant at Masjid Ar-Razaqq Ul-Karim in the 1100 block of North 63d Street, said Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives.

The attack happened after a prayer service Monday morning. Mitchell, also known as Mabul Shoatz, accused the 46-year-old mosque member of the theft.

The accused immediately denied it, but to no avail. Mitchell and the mosque's imam carried the accused down a flight of stairs to the backyard of the mosque, a converted house, where Mitchell also lives, Walker said.

They put the victim's wrist on a log, and Mitchell "swung at his wrist, cut through his skin, and cut his tendons, but didn't make it all the way" because the blade was dull, Walker said.

The victim was treated at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital and will require reconstructive surgery.

Mitchell was charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, and related offenses. Police found the machete during the search.

Walker said police would obtain an arrest warrant for the imam, a 35-year-old man whose name was not released.


bmoran@phillynews.com

215-854-5983

@RobertMoran215

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