By Steve Beck, Al Novack, Nicole Brewer and Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police spent Wednesday evening handing out fliers and knocking on doors in the Lawndale section of Northeast Philadelphia after more than two dozen cars were sprayed with acid by vandals early in the morning. Mayor Nutter, along with residents, is outraged over the crimes.
“You try to live somewhere and live right, and it’s brought to your door and it’s really upsetting,” said Geraldine Aponte of Lawndale.
Authorities say approximately 15 cars were sprayed with acid in the 600 block of Van Kirk Street in the city’s Lawncrest section.
Victims and police were at the scene early Wednesday assessing the damage, and the victims are perplexed as to why the vandals are committing these acts.
“Why are they doing it? What are they getting out of it? They’re not getting any money for it, so it’s like, what is the purpose? You have nothing else to do? And that’s the very frustrating part,” victim Yolanda Tyler wondered.
This incident is the latest in a rash of vandalism that has been plaguing residents of Northeast Philadelphia. Since October, approximately 80 cars have had their tires slashed in Mayfair, which is about a 10 minute drive from Lawncrest.
But, does the crime define the community? After fifteen cars were hit with acid on his block, Lance Marshall of Lawndale is keeping an eye on the problem. He’s installed surveillance cameras.
And in the meantime, “Just try to hope for the best, hopefully that element will move out. They won’t stay. As for me, I’ll stay as long as I can,” Marshall said.
And while it may be too soon to know the impact these incidents will have on real estate, some community leaders fear it could lead to more for sale signs, driving people out of the Northeast.
Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce President Al Taubenberger urges residents to confront the problem, rather than run from it.
“If you’re not part of a town watch, join one. If you don’t have a town watch, start one. They are the eyes and ears of police.”
Mayor Nutter responded Wednesday morning saying he is “pissed off” over the crimes. He had strong words for the vandals calling them, “@!%s-holes” and “jerk offs.”
So far, no arrests have been made in the acid vandalism, but a suspect in the tire slashing cases in Mayfair and three alleged tire thieves in Rhawnhurst have been arrested.
Police ask that anyone with information contact Northeast Detectives at 215-686-2153 or dial 911.