Cops: Robber follows elderly residents home from banks

Posted: August 22, 2014

ONCE YOU KNOW the story, how police say the hulking, stocky robber stalks and targets vulnerable elderly victims, usually hitting and knocking them to the ground, the surveillance video of the moments leading up to the most recent attack is all the more chilling.

An 87-year-old man, slight and a little hunched, walks unsuspectingly into the Sunoco store at Cottman and Castor avenues in the video from around 10 a.m. Aug. 13, which police released yesterday. He leans down to pick up a newspaper.

What he doesn't see is the predator lurking behind him. The older man and his 83-year-old wife were followed home, police said, from the nearby PNC Bank branch at Cottman and Horrocks. The brazen bandit then stalked his prey home to Rutland Street near St. Vincent, in Castor, and attacked, knocking both of his elderly victims to the ground and stealing the wife's handbag, police said.

The robbery of that couple last week was just the latest in a string of at least 11 similar robberies since April throughout neighborhoods in the Northeast, Port Richmond, Fishtown and parts of North Philadelphia, police said. In most cases, according to investigators, a man matching a similar description and driving a silver or white vehicle has stalked victims after they went to banks, following them back home and robbing them.

Police yesterday asked for the public's help to identify and find the unscrupulous robber.

He's described in the majority of the incidents as black, between 40 and 45, stocky and about 6 feet tall. He drives a silver or white car that appears in surveillance video from several of the robberies to be a Chevy sedan.

Police said they believe the same man is responsible for the following robberies this summer throughout the Northeast:

* June 3: A 72-year-old man left a TD Bank on Cottman Avenue near Bustleton, and was followed by the suspect home to Leonard Street near Longshore Avenue, in Castor, where the suspect attacked him and stole $750.

* July 1: An 86-year-old man got home from a PNC Bank on Rising Sun Avenue near Martins Mill Road and parked in his driveway on Rhawn Street near Fairfield. There, the suspect punched the man in the face and stole his cash.

* July 5: An 80-year-old man went to two banks in the area of Cottman and Bustleton avenues and, video shows, was stalked by the suspect, who then followed him to his home on St. Vincent Street near Algon Avenue. In surveillance, the suspect parks next to the man's house, then creeps around the corner of the house into the victim's garage. Inside, police said, the victim was robbed.

* July 7: An 81-year-old man returning home to Tyson Avenue near Crispin Street, in Mayfair, from a bank at Frankford and Robbins was approached getting out of his car by a man who pushed him against the car and stole his money.

* July 21: An 81-year-old man was in the lot at Gallo's Seafood, Stanwood Street near Fairfield, after going to two banks nearby. The suspect opened the man's car door and took money the elderly victim had placed in the center console.

Police said the man is also suspected in five similar attacks between April 24 and Aug. 6 in Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Port Richmond and Kensington.

Surveillance video obtained from banks and stores before several of the robberies can be seen by visiting

Tipsters should call Northeast Detectives at 215-686-3153 or East Detectives at 215-686-3243.

On Twitter: @morganzalot


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