Police are investigating a disturbing pattern of home robberies in South Philadelphia in which thieves have gained entry into homes by removing their front door mail slots while their occupants are away on vacation.
The first incident happened on the 700 block of Rodman Street, a block north of South Street, in Society Hill. Police said that between July 2 and July 14, an unknown person removed the victim's front door mail slot, pried open their front door and broke into their home. Taken was an estimated $20,000 worth of jewelry, including gold and silver bracelets, necklaces and earrings, four watches – including a Rolex and a Tiffany watch – and a diamond ring.
A second break-in occurred between 5 p.m. Aug. 17 and 1:15 p.m. Aug. 19 on the 2000 block of Kater Street, one block south of South Street in Southwest Center City. Again, the front door mail slot of the victim's home was removed and the door was pried open.
One inside, the offenders ransacked the victim's bedroom, taking 26 watches, 7 rings, two necklaces, two computers, a Palm handheld PDA, collectible coins, antique decor and cash worth an estimated $52,000.
A little over a week later, between Aug. 28 at 6:15 a.m. and Aug. 30 at 3:45 a.m., a homeowner's mail slot was removed on the 800 block of Swanson Street, near Queen Street and Columbus Boulevard in the Penn's Landing area. Thieves pried open the door and took several wristwatches – including one Cartier watch – with an undisclosed value.
A concerned Fitler Square woman posted today on Everyblock.com that her neighbor, who lives on the north side of Naudain Street, recently returned home from vacation to find that her mailbox slot was removed and someone had apparently unsuccessfully attempted to force their hand inside and unlock the door.
Investigators dusted for for fingerprints after each burglary, but have not yet found a match. No arrests have yet been made.