South Philadelphia small business owners fed up with constant thefts

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Several South Philadelphia business owners say their businesses are plagued by theft and not enough is being done to stop the suspects.

Vincent Emmanuel says his 7-Eleven store in South Philadelphia is in real trouble.

“Almost like every day, an emergency call goes out of business,” said Emmanuel.

In the recent incident, video shows a large group of teenagers entering the store, taking items and exiting.

In another incident, you can see someone putting items directly into their pocket.

“They come with bags. You fill it up and go straight out. Who would need 24 cans of Red Bull? I get up and go to work. Why do I have to confront criminals all day? ?” said Emmanuel.

Not far from his shop is Mohamed Fritis from Mizzo Boutique.

“In the last four to three months there have been constant burglaries, burglary attempts,” said Fritis.

Video shows the thieves smashing his front windows and then ransacking his store for the next 25 minutes. Almost everything was taken away.

“The goods were about $47,000 and the bearing damage was about $7,000 to $8,000,” Fritis said.

They both feel that Philadelphia law enforcement is taking a soft stance on the matter.

Emmanuel points to a policy instituted by District Attorney Larry Krasner in 2018 to charge shoplifting as a summary offense unless the case exceeds $500 or the suspect has a long history of convictions for theft.

“You have to take a little tougher stance on this stuff,” Emmanuel said.

But a spokesman for the DA’s office says it faces criminal charges for retail theft.

“According to data from PPD and criminal courts, arrests by police for retail theft are up 10% compared to this time last year, and charges from our office are up 13% compared to this time last year,” das said Office of the Prosecutor.

In some cases, the prosecutor’s office says that if the suspect is caught, they will face alternative punishments, such as return of stolen goods or treatment for substance abuse or mental illness, if applicable.

Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved. South Philadelphia small business owners fed up with constant thefts

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