Police are investigating four violent home invasions in the past two days that left one man badly beaten and burned and a dog dead from a gunshot wound.
In the latest incident, three men broke into a house on the 1300 block of Friendship Street in the Castor section of Northeast Philadelphia early this morning and made away with tens of thousands of dollars.
Police said that a man and a woman, both 21, were sleeping together in the front bedroom of the home when they were awoken around 3:30 a.m. by three unknown intruders – one of them armed with a gun – breaking into the side window.
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The men demanded money and began tying up the couple with plastic tape. As the gunman bound the male victim, he pistol-whipped him in the head and caused the gun to go off, shooting through the ceiling.
The men then finished tying up the two victims and ransacked the residence. They took $10,000 from a dresser drawer and two cell phones and fled in an unknown direction.
Police described the assailants as three masked Hispanic men. The victims estimated that the gunman was between the ages of 20 and 25 and said he was also wearing black gloves. No further description is available.
The male victim was severely bruised and suffered a laceration to his head and shoulder. The woman had a lump on the back of her head. Both were treated and released from Aria Health's Torresdale campus.
Also early this morning, officers responded to a residence on the 4100 block of Greeby Street in Mayfair – two miles away from the Castor home invasion – shortly before 2 a.m. for a report of a person with a gun.
The victims, a 23-year-old man and a woman, told them that three or four men, one of them armed with a gun, barged into the house demanding money.
Nothing was taken, but the gunman shot the homeowners' dog in the right eye before fleeing on foot. The animal was rushed to the vet, but had to be put to sleep.
Police are looking for a six-foot-one-inch, 160-pound male in his 20s with dark skin and long dark hair wearing dark clothes. They say the other offenders were around the same height, weight and age, but no further description was immediately available.
In a third incident, five masked men armed with semi-automatic handguns forced a Tacony man, 33, into his home on the 4800 block of Longshore Avenue shortly after 4 a.m. yesterday. That residence is a mere mile away from the house targeted in the Mayfair home invasion.
The assailants ordered the victim down on the floor while they searched the residence, threatening to kill him if he moved, police said. They made away with a watch, ring, bracelet, a wallet containing IDs and credit cards, $600 in cash and an unknown amount of loose change.
The victim told police that the incident happened quickly and he didn't know why he was targeted or who the gunmen were. He could provide no description of them other than that they were wearing dark clothing and hoodies.
He suffered two lumps on his head that he told police were a result of being pistol-whipped twice.
Less than a half hour later on Saturday, the owners of Tony's Place, a bar located at 801 West Lehigh Avenue in Fairhill, told police that they were assailed just after they closed up shop for the night and were returning to their home on the 200 block of West Wingohocking Street in Logan.
The female victim, who police have identified only as "Vivian," 35, went inside the house and was confronted in the kitchen by three men wearing masks and gloves. Her husband, 30, told police he was unloading a case of water from his car when he heard his wife's screams.
He then saw two gunmen inside his doorway, who grabbed him and forced him inside his home. Both he and his wife were zip-tied and ordered to the floor. The gunmen took over $1,000 in cash from Vivian's wallet and $100 from her husband's wallet.
They forced the husband into the basement, where they beat him with a club and threw hot water onto his back. After the invaders were unable to get the man to tell them where they could find more valuables, they fled with the cash, along with the victims' two cell phones.
The man was hospitalized at Albert Einstein Medical Center with severe bruises on his arms, face and back. He described the suspects as five black men armed with semi-automatic handguns and wearing ski masks and gloves.
Police are investigating to see if any of the incidents are related. No arrests have yet been made.