In the past few weeks, Spruce Street Video and Scorpio Adult Boutique were both robbed at gunpoint. Investigators have said the two incidents do appear to be linked. An arrest has not yet been made.
Scorpio was robbed a second time late last week, and Danny's, another adult shop, was robbed Tuesday afternoon.
There have also been knifepoint robberies, with two victims at the meeting, March 13 at William Way LGBT Community Center, to tell their stories.
At 10:20 p.m. Feb. 21, a woman had just gotten off work and was walking along Locust, between 12th and 13th streets, when she was dragged onto Camac Street from behind.
“I felt myself dragged back further and I tried to struggle and then I felt a knife on my throat and I got picked up by my neck with the knife,” she said. “He was rustling through my pockets. He then dropped me on my head and took off going towards Chestnut.”
The woman said the culprit used his left arm to hold the knife to her neck.
He stole $400 in cash.
Although she didn’t see his face, the victim said the suspect was an African-American male wearing a “bomber”-type jacket.
Two friends of hers called 911 and she said a Philadelphia Parking Authority employee also radioed in the incident. She went to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to be treated for injuries the following morning.
Freelance photographer Patrick Hagerty said he experienced a similar assault, this time after 6 p.m. Feb. 24.
Hagerty had been out with friends at the Starbucks at Broad and Pine streets. He was walking south on Watts Street, between Pine and Lombard, toward his apartment when he heard a crunching noise behind him.
“Before I could react, a left arm came up behind me, shoved a knife against my throat and told me if I screamed, I wouldn’t have a throat left,” he said.
Hagerty had been carrying a bag full of camera equipment, which the suspect demanded if Hagerty wanted to live.
“He told me to walk straight, don’t look back and if I do look back, he would have my throat slashed before I could react,” he said. “I didn’t look back until I was past the cameras on my building. I figured that at that point, if he comes after me, they will see him. By the time I turned around, he was gone.”
Hagerty said he was uncertain in what direction the attacker went, but described him as being at least 6-foot-1 and African-American.
No arrests have been made in either case.
Sixth District Officer Joe Ferrero said there have been no more knife incidents since these two.
Ferrero said police presence is always heavy throughout the 13th Street corridor but because of the frequent snow, it had been harder for bike officers to patrol the smaller streets in the Washington Square West neighborhood.
“During snowstorms bikes don’t patrol, so we lost three to four cops and those are the ones down in the alleys,” he said. “A lot of the time when it does snow, we hardly get crime.”