By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A City Councilwoman is refusing to answer questions about the theft over the weekend of her city-issued vehicle.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown this past Sunday discovered that her city-issued car had been stolen outside her home in Wynnfield. The alleged culprits were later nabbed in Upper Darby. Michael Chitwood, the police superintendent there, says two men and a woman were caught early Monday morning:
“(The woman) had a key among numerous change and other articles,” he says. “Subsequently we found that they key fit the ignition of an automobile parked in that area.”
And that car, it turns out, was the stolen city car issued to the councilwoman. Chitwood said a backpack containing drugs was found inside the car, and Upper Darby investigators believe it belongs to the suspects.
Reynolds Brown, through a spokesman, refused requests from KYW Newsradio for an interview about how this woman obtained the key to her car. She did issue a statement that speculates the key was a hidden, spare key found while the suspects “were rummaging through the vehicle.” Reynolds Brown, in her statement, insists that she was in possession of her main set of keys. She added, “This incident illustrates that no citizen is exempt from random acts of crime across our city.”
Council President Darrell Clarke, when asked for comment, said he was aware the car had been stolen, but declined to comment until he receives an official report of the incident.
The three suspects remain in custody in Upper Darby.
The fact that some city council members drive city issued cars has long been controversial. Mayor Michael Nutter, in his first term in office, urged the lawmakers to give up their cars as a symbolic austerity measure in the face of a tight city budget.
Eleven of the current 15 council members use city-issued cars. Only Cindy Bass, Bobby Henon, Wilson Goode and Mark Squilla turned down the perk.