More than 70 face charges in connection with looting

Shown is the aftermath of ransacked liquor store in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

More than 70 people have been charged in connection with the looting that occurred across Philadelphia last week, and authorities anticipate more arrests in the coming days.

A majority of those apprehended were charged with felony burglary and conspiracy, Assistant District Attorney Clint Orem, head of the charging unit, said Monday. Two people were charged with illegal possession of a firearm, according to authorities.

Five of the people arrested were under the age of 18, Orem said; the other 67 were adults, primarily under 30 years old.

The Philadelphia Police Department has posted more than a dozen videos in an attempt to identify suspects who burglarized businesses Tuesday, Sept. 26, and Wednesday, Sept. 27.

“People, don’t get caught up in social media, please,” Sheriff Rochelle Bilal said during a Monday morning news conference. “Appearing in handcuffs is not a good look you want for yourself on social media.”

The looting followed a peaceful protest in response to a judge dismissing all charges against former city police officer Mark Dial, who had been charged with murder for the Aug. 14 fatal shooting of 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry Jr.

Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford last week characterized the looters as “a bunch of criminal opportunists” not connected to the earlier demonstration.

The DAO has moved to refile charges against Dial, and a hearing to consider the case is scheduled for Oct. 25.

District Attorney Krasner stressed Monday the need for “individual justice” in prosecuting those involved in last week’s burglaries, which targeted stores from Center City to Northeast Philadelphia.

District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks Monday, Oct. 2, during a news conference to provide an update on the looting that occurred last week.Jack Tomczuk

In 2020, 832 people were arrested in Philadelphia during the unrest that erupted following the police killings of George Floyd and Walter Wallace Jr. A vast majority, 85%, enrolled in diversion programs, including a special restorative justice initiative, to have those charges dropped, according to the DAO.

“We went vigorously after people who we thought were essentially predatory criminals and were opportunistically taking advantage of the situation,” Krasner said. “But we understood the complexity of taking people who have essentially no prior record and are caught up in a moment and are nonetheless committing crimes. All of them should be held accountable, but there is more than one way to hold them accountable.”

“We intend to pursue a similar approach to what we had before,” he added. “That is exactly what we have been doing so far.”

Any businesses or individuals affected by last week’s looting can call the DAO at 215-686-8027 for support.