Young Gang Busted: Thieves Sentenced For Targeting Homes With Sleeping Occupants

More than a dozen young males and females have been sentenced for their roles in a spree of Lancaster home burglaries and thefts in 2013.

The group, 14 people in all, targeted city homes with residents asleep inside during the three-month spree.

They stole cash, credit cards, and cars.

Their ages, roles and sentences varied, with the youngest being a 15-year-old girl and the oldest a 20-year-old man.

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Wilson Borough Police Charge 18-Year-Old Easton Man In Sunday’s Shootings

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wilson Borough police have charged an 18-year-old Easton man with shooting two people on Sunday evening in the 1500 block of Washington Street in the borough, according to court papers.

Tchella Bellamy, of the 100 block of South Ninth Street in Easton, is charged with two counts of attempted homicide, two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of recklessly endangering another person, according to charges filed at District Judge Richard Yetter III’s office in the borough, court records say.

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State Senators Send Letter To HUD Regarding Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Three local state senators have petitioned the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address concerns about crime and violence at the Sherman Hills apartment complex.

State Sens. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, and John Blake, D-Archbald, Friday released the joint statement regarding the multiple instances that have occurred recently at the complex.

“In recent months, we have turned our collective attention to addressing the frightening spike in criminal activity at Sherman Hills apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre,” the senators wrote. “Families with young children are living in fear at Sherman Hills and desperately need the help of local, state and federal leaders to end the senseless violence.”

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Man Arrested In Shooting Death In Hill District

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhoo...

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police arrested a man late Thursday in connection with the shooting death of a man with gang ties last week in the Hill District.

Jay Morrison, 37, is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of criminal homicide and a firearms violation in the killing of Harold Cabbagestalk, 40.

Morrison was arrested about 11:35 p.m. at Lady Di’s bar in Homewood based on a lead from the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, Pittsburgh police major crimes unit Lt. Daniel Hermann said in a press release.

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Man With Gang Ties Is Shot To Death In Hill District

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police knew Harold Cabbagestalk because they had charged him with two killings, although he was never convicted. Now, they are looking for the person who killed him.

Cabbagestalk, 40, once a member of the notorious Hazelwood Mob street gang, died at UPMC Mercy at 9:22 a.m. today, according to the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office. Pittsburgh police said he was shot the night before at the Flamingo Bar on Wylie Avenue in the Hill District.

A woman called 911 about 11:35 p.m. Monday and asked the call-taker to send medics to the bar.  When police arrived, they found Cabbagestalk lying on the floor with eight gunshot wounds, including one to the center of his chest, Major Crimes Lt. Daniel Herrmann said.

It was the second serious shooting that night.  Pittsburgh police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Homewood when they learned that Cabbagestalk had been seriously injured.

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Philadelphia’s Homicide Tally Shows Dramatic Drop

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Great news!

PHILLY’S HOMICIDE rate is raising some eyebrows – but this time, it’s for all of the right reasons.

From the start of the year through Wednesday night, 54 homicides were recorded, a 39 percent drop from the same period a year ago, according to police statistics.

Shootings were down 20 percent, from 274 to 218, and overall violent crime fell 9 percent through March 31, the last date for which those figures were available.

For a city that has long been haunted by stubbornly high homicide tallies, the lower figures represent an encouraging sign of progress.

Whether that progress can be maintained through the notoriously violent spring and summer months is anyone’s guess.

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Reading Crime Summit Ideas

Attacking crime in Reading will take more than law enforcement and government officials sitting down for a meeting, community leaders said Tuesday in response to a call by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. for a crime summit in August.

State Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone, a Reading Democrat, said more police officers would help, but money is not likely to be readily available from the state or federal governments because of their budget situations.

So the key to success will be getting parents to take responsibility for their children and schools to provide more athletic and educational activities for youths, he said.

Representatives from faith-based organizations, fraternal and social groups and businesses must be at the table, Caltagirone said.

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Williamsport: Weeklong Shooting Spree Continues

Taken by Zak Shellenberger of Williamsport, Pe...

Image via Wikipedia

Williamsport is having a bad week.  There have been four shootings since Sunday.  Yesterday afternoon shots were fired between two vehicles a few blocks west of Williamsport General Hospital.  One person was wounded and taken to a local hospital.

Sunday night a nonfatal shooting occurred in Memorial Park.  Early Wednesday morning a second nonfatal shooting occurred on West Fourth Street.  Wednesday night a Philadelphia man was killed along High Street.

Police and city officials and trying to come up with a solution for the recent rash of gunfire.  Police say the shootings are not random.

Some demographics on Williamsport courtesy of  2009 population estimate 29,304, land area is 8.88 square miles, number of police officers 53, City-data 2009 crime index was 322.1 (low), 2009 estimated median household income $25,101, 2009 estimate per capita income $16,442 and the unemployment rate as of April 2010 was 10.4%.

What Will It Take To Make Pottstown Safe??

Less than a week after a historic meeting at Invictus Ministries, to address the recent wave of shootings in Pottstown, another shooting occurred Sunday afternoon! 

In broad daylight, a young man was shot after being “dropped off” in Pottstown’s central historic neighborhood.  This youth was evidently from “out of town”.  That raises all kinds of questions and could be another article.

With an admitted “drug war” being waged to control Pottstown, where does this leave us, the residents of Pottstown?  We were told Wednesday, that as citizens, we are not doing enough to aid police.  We need to step it up and report crime when we see it.  Okay, I will admit citizens need to be involved and help the police.  However, this situation seems to be beyond the scope of our own police department so “citizen involvement” at this juncture is fairly dangerous other than anonymous reporting of crime. 

If these “gangs” are willing to shoot someone in broad daylight it tells me they are fairly confident they can get away with it.  They are not afraid of our local law enforcement.  This brazen attitude would suggest we need to enlist additional help.  More preventive measures need to be put in place.  Telling people “if we put more police on the streets we will have to raise your taxes” is not a strategy.  Sorry, that is just lame.  If our taxes can not give us adequate police protection, we need to consider other creative solutions like outsourcing or mergers.  We need to be PROACTIVE, not reactive.

I urge our leadership to think outside the box.  People would be relieved if the State Police or other additional law enforcement professionals were enlisted to supplement our police department until this crisis is over.  What we are doing is not working.  This problem will continue until these criminals get a clear message they are not wanted in Pottstown and their lives will be made a living hell if they come here and ply their trade.  

There is no shame in asking for help!!!  Continuing to blame unarmed and untrained taxpayers is not going to solve this problem!

Other Pottstown blogs have commented on this subject as well:

Pottstown Community Meeting – Escalating Violent Crime In Our Neighborhoods

WHERE:  Invictus Ministries 79 N. Hanover St.
WHEN:  Wednesday, November 17th at 6:30 PM
WHO:  Chief Flanders – Mayor Bonnie Heath – D.A. Risa Vetri Ferman
Okay folks, the borough has heard your cry for help and has arranged this meeting including Montgomery County D.A Risa Vetri Ferman, Chief Flanders, Bonnie Heath and I would suspect some or all Pottstown Councilors.  DA Ferman is a no-nonsense prosecutor and has publicly stated she is all about keeping the citizens of Montgomery County safe!  She has a low tolerance for crime!  We have the county’s attention now and this is a good thing!!!!  We need their help.
This is your chance to be heard so SHOW UP and pack the house!

Take Back Our Town Meeting Held At Pottstown Diner Thursday Evening

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County
Image via Wikipedia

A crowd of approximately 50 people attended a meeting with Pottstown attorney Adam Sager Thursday evening at the Pottstown Diner to learn what regular citizens can do to clean up Pottstown and take back our community.

Pottstown Borough Council President Steve Toroney, Councilor Jody Rhoads (6) and Councilor Dan Weand (5) were also in attendance.  I don’t recall seeing the councilors for Wards 1 & 2 (the core neighborhood). Code Blue (The Pulse) had a strong turn out along with representatives from CPR (Citizen’s For Pottstown Revitalization), bloggers Mo Gallant (Pottstown’s Blog) and Sue Repko (Positively Pottstown), and Brandie Kessler from the Pottstown Mercury.

Before Attorney Sager made his presentation, a Pottstown landlord described why he became a landlord in Pottstown 12 years ago.  He wanted to make a difference and offer moderately priced housing (less than $600 a month rent).  Now he is struggling under the weight of water/sewer/trash bills and other increased utility and service costs.  He can’t afford it!

This gentleman rehabilitated 3 crack houses into nice apartment buildings.  He said he feels the borough is his enemy.  He also stated he can get $200 – $250 more a month if he rents to Section 8 recipients.

We then listened to a presentation from Attorney Sager about a plan of attack being used in many cities across the nation. Filling civil lawsuits against offending property owners for code and nuisance violations can have the desired outcome of taking the bad property, getting rid of the slumlord and the criminal element tenants and replacing them with decent people.  We want to attract and retain good tenants while getting rid of the bad ones.

Attorney Sager said we should take a map of Pottstown and put pins in the map to pinpoint the problem areas and find a pattern.

Attorney Sager also discussed the possibility of taking property through eminent domain by the borough as another means of ridding Pottstown of undesirables.

A spirited discussion followed with many people asking questions like “Can we afford to pay the legal fees to sue people?” “Why isn’t the borough doing more?” and other similar questions.  Residents and property owners in attendance were frustrated and in pain over the recent flurry of gun activity in the “core neighborhood”.  Code Blue member Amy Francis said she no longer feels safe in her home.  A property owner from Lower Pottsgrove said he just lost two good tenants because of the recent rash of shootings.

President Toroney answered questions about what steps the borough is taking to deal with slumlords such as water shut off on delinquent properties, the sheriff sale of properties, Portnoff’s more aggressive collection efforts etc… His answers were not always met with enthusiasm. The discussion became quite heated at times due to the high anxiety level of residents in attendance.

Despite varied opinions and temperaments, a good first step was taken.  It was suggested that a Task Force be formed to tackle this escalating problem. Code Blue also mentioned they are developing a Community Land Trust that will help with this process along with the new rental ordinance the borough has developed.

IMHO it will take a multi-faceted approach to fix this problem.