Point Breeze neighborhood group to blame for OCF Coffee vandalism? (UPDATED)
UPDATE: According to OCF Realty, the suspect shown on surveillance video vandalizing the coffee shop is described as a 5-foot-7-inch tall white male with a thin build.
OCF is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.
ORIGINAL STORY: Police are looking for a man caught on camera Saturday morning smashing the plate glass windows of OCF Coffee House.
The Point Breeze shop is owned by controversial developer Ori Feibush, whose real estate pursuits have touched off an ongoing dispute with neighborhood group the Point Breeze Organizing Committee.
Officers responded around 6 a.m. to OCF Coffee House, located at 2001 Federal St., where they found smashed to pieces two front plate glass windows whose total value is estimated to be $2,000.
Credit: YouTube / Christopher Sawyer
An employee arrived to check the property with police and determined nothing appeared to have been taken.
Investigators did recover from inside the business two large pieces of concrete.
Police said the worker was last at OCF Coffee House 5 p.m. the night before, when he closed up shop.
The suspect is described as a black male with a slim build.
He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie and gloves.
Feibush made headlines last year when he rehabilitated a vacant, city-owned lot adjacent to his Point Breeze coffee shop and was subsequently reprimanded by city officials.
The dispute made national news, even sparking a video ostensibly created by hacktivist network Anonymous.
The president of OCF Realty, Feibush has undertaken a number of projects in the up-and-coming Point Breeze neighborhood, where an influx of new development has caused tension between real estate professionals and longtime homeowners.
Feibush has in doing so run afoul of the Point Breeze Organizing Committee, which bills itself as a multi-racial coalition advocating for equitable development.
The organization on Saturday held a march that ended at the doorstep of OCF Coffee House, protesting what they say is a push to gentrify the neighborhood and displace lower income homeowners.
“In the lead up to the march, OCF, led by Mr. Ori Feibush and its allies, have done anything and everything to suppress popular dissent,” the coalition wrote in a release advertising Saturday’s protest.
Members claim Feibush attempted to schedule a block party “as a buffer between the protest and OCF business,” then posted a PBOC organizer’s home address on the Internet.
PBOC in the release further alleged Feibush circulated doctored images of a text message exchange between Feibush and PBOC organizer Gary Broderick to make it appear as though Broderick was “aggressive, cursing and using the N-word.”
Cease and desist
PBOC on Wednesday sent Feibush a cease and desist letter demanding he stop circulating the allegedly fabricated conversation.
The coalition on Thursday posted a short video blasting Feibush, showing screenshots of the alleged doctored conversation and further publicizing the cease and desist letter.
“This isn’t about you and Gary Broderick – that’s the story you want us and everyone to believe,” one organizer said.
“This is about us, we, our community. We are, all of us – long term residents and new residents – all calling upon you to stop your profit-before-people way of doing business, and we recognize that when you attack one of our leaders, that means you’re trying to weaken all of us, and we will not allow that.”
While Feibush said in an interview with NBC10 he believes PBOC to be behind the vandalism of OCF Coffee, PBOC members denied involvement.
In yet another twist, community activist Christopher Sawyer of anti-blight blog Philadelinquency announced in an entry posted Sunday his intent to sue PBOC founders Broderick and Mindy Isser after he claims they circulated among homes in the Point Breeze area a flyer branding Sawyer as “part of Mr. Feibush’s entourage,”alleging Sawyer created the Anonymous video and accusing him of constructing a fictional profile to harass users on the Facebook page of civic group Newbold Neighbors Association.
“We will have to see if this new organization in Point Breeze is willing to prove these statements in a courtroom, as there’s no way it can be verified in Vimeo videos of organizers staring angrily into cellphone cameras,” Sawyer wrote.
He said he’ll be filing a libel suit in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas.
“Given PBOC’s highly distorting rhetoric, and in my case outright libelous outrageous claims, debating with this group in the public fora is useless,” he wrote.
As far as the OCF Coffee House vandalism, authorities said the investigation into the crime is ongoing.
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